The fiction of the past lives in the future
Freddie Kissoon column
April 3, 2007
I made a decision years ago that I would not reply to any criticisms of my columns by pen name GINA employees. Their function is to flood the two independent dailies with propaganda about the achievements of the PPP in power. It made no sense to confront this mindless exaggeration of the so-called good policies of the PPP.
I have made two exceptions to my position. One is that there are letters from these ghost writers that provide you with a sound opportunity to ventilate issues for the Guyanese public and, in doing so, expose this propaganda machinery from GINA.
The other is that when large contingents of diaspora Guyanese are in the country, GINA utilizes to the maximum the opportunity to try and deceive these people. Critics and commentators, then, should respond in kind. There is always the possibility that the expatriate Guyanese may leave believing that the fiction GINA put out is fact. Against this backdrop, I will answer a letter written by one of the GINA composers.
In yesterday's KN, Sean Adams attempts to rebut my analyses of the failure of the PPP in Government (I am writing at a time when there is a national disaster in Guyana: Georgetowners are advised by the chief engineer of GWI, as quoted in this newspaper, that even if you boil the water, do not drink it, do not let it get into your mouths when brushing your teeth, do not cook with it) by asserting that when you look at the economy in 1992 and now, you see the positive changes.
I found the timing of his correspondence excellent, because I can address those Guyanese that are here for the cricket to see how the past determines how the PPP makes policies. Mr. Adams paints a picture of 1992 that is false, and in rebutting him, the edifice of PPP rule comes tumbling down. First, let's look at debt rescheduling. There is nothing brilliant about the reduction of the debt from 1992. Debt forgiveness is a form of international generosity that the major industrial countries agreed to among themselves.
Debt reduction was given to the eleven poorest countries in the world. There was no ingenious move, no brilliant Bismarkian strategy, no innovative diplomacy by President Jagdeo that caused Guyana's debts to be substantially diminished.
Ten other leaders from the poorest countries in the world went to the IMF, the IDB, the World Bank and the G7 and asked for debt repayment solutions. They all got it. In return, they had to pursue structural adjustment programmes that are basically antithetical to national development.
It is time some genius from Freedom House tells us what spectacular formula President Jagdeo devised that caused Guyana to be the recipient of the liberal terms of debt rescheduling that the lenders have agreed to. It is time some competent economist knocks this constant propaganda from GINA about our debt rescheduling achievements. Any leader of Guyana, given the enormity of the debt burden, would have been given a receptive ear by the West.
Secondly, Mr. Adams refers to the infrastructure of Guyana in 1992 and the positive face it has now. This is shameless, barefaced deception. In 1992, under Mr. Desmond Hoyte, Guyana was in the process of renegotiating its integration into the world economy and its status of a country in need of loans. After 1992, and from 1992 to the present, this county has chalked up a record of being one of the most favoured nations in terms of the response of the rich to its constant mendicant implorations.
The Government of Guyana has taken away the dignity of all Guyanese. This country has no money to do anything connected with development. To put chalk in the schools, to put blackboards in the schools, to put chairs for civil servants to sit on, these things are begged for by way of loans. The inescapable fact that stares all Guyanese in the face - that are familiar with their country - is that we have a government that cannot stand up on its own feet and put money into the country. It begs for the most elementary forms of resources.
It came as no surprise that Japan built the CARICOM Secretariat; China the Convention Centre; India the Providence Stadium; India, the traffic signals. The monarch of Guyana is the IDB.
One of these days, if the PPP remains in Government, it will beg the IDB for a loan to buy mops to dry the floor of the National Cultural Centre during the rainy seasons.
It was, of course, a tragedy when we begged the Caribbean Development Bank for 600 million (G) for tertiary education, including labs to replace the dilapidated, non-functioning ones at UG, and they said no. Maybe someone told the bank's governors that it is time Guyana stops begging.
Mr. Adams and the PPP leaders he writes for find themselves in fools' paradise whenever they try to compare pre-1992 and post-1992. Post-1992 Guyana remains a frightening place. In post-1992 Guyana, in one year 22 policemen were killed.
What was even more shocking was what the then Home Affairs Minister told the Commission into extra-judicial killings. He extolled a dubious figure of the night, Mr. Axel Williams, who was accused of killing a food vendor over a dispute involving non-payment of 20 Guyana dollars.
He told the commissioners that he had to rely on Williams to bring him intelligence because fear had paralyzed the Police Force. This is a period this writer will never forget. During his journalistic investigations of crime in that time span, he met senior Police officers who were overtaken by fear of being killed. They were not prepared to go out there. I met wealthy businessmen who had packed their bags. They told me they were following their colleagues because, at any moment, they could be killed.
This was a descent into nihilism that the Burnham regime and the Hoyte Government would not have allowed.
Look at post-1992 Guyana. A well known political activist, Ronald Waddell, was killed execution-style outside his home. A senior minister of government, ‘Sash' Sawh was assassinated, with his two siblings and security guard, right at his house.
Finally, Mr. Adams and the PPP leaders he writes for are yet to consult the world's renowned psychics. Only they hold the answers to why, after 1992, Papa Cheddi and his PPP have ruled Guyana yet Berbicians are migrating like when mangoes fall off a sugar estate tree.
Of course, I know the answer. They don't have to look far. Guyanese people see the PPP as a failure.