EYEWITNESS: Deeply flawed…


…economic arguments

There’s an interesting colloquy going on between former PPP Minister Henry Jeffrey (for 16 years – Labour, Housing, Human Services and Social Security, Minister of Health and Labour, Education, Foreign Trade) and former President Donald Ramotar. The latter acceded to that office after Jeffrey parted company rather acrimoniously with the PPP Government – but previously he’d been the General Secretary of the PPP, before.

Ramotar took serious umbrage at what he saw as Jeffrey’s belittling of the PPP’s success in the economic arena – such as he, Ramotar has boasted of in a letter to the press. Jeffrey was basically asserting what some folks believe is true: after Hoyte signed onto the IMF’s “conditionalities” and launched the Economic Recovery Project (ERP), the ground was set for the PPP’s success. Between 1989 and 1992, after all, the GDP grew at a clip of six per cent+ annually!

It would appear Ramotar was pretty peeved about Jeffrey being more than a tad simplistic in pushing that line – especially since he was on the inside for most of the PPP’s terms and would’ve had access to the facts. Right off the bat, one can’t deny the PPP’s success by claiming it was the due to the IMF policies – and not apply the same yardstick to the Hoyte years! What’s sauce for the goose and all that…

Secondly, and more germanely, the rise in GDP during the Hoyte’s years wasn’t due to any radical economic innovation – save the IMF-demanded removal of PNC stranglehold controls over the economy. Does the PNC get points for ceasing to stifle the economy?? Then how about panning them for those policies that killed the economy in the first place.

In reality, what happened between 1989 and 1994 was the industries that had been stifled by the PNC, basically bounced back to the Production Possibility Frontier that was already inherent in the factors of production. For instance, sugar and rice started to do better because of market forces playing a bigger role in wages and prices respectively.

The role of Bharrat Jagdeo in getting the US$2.1 billion debt the PNC had placed on the necks of Guyana and all Guyanese written off wasn’t just through magic – it required a firm hand on steering the economic ship SS Guyana. Is it because of Jeffrey’s well ventilated run-ins with Jagdeo he wouldn’t acknowledge that? Your Eyewitness was a bit taken back by Dr Jeffrey’s seemingly churlish dismissal of the robust performance of the economy under the PPP’s watch.

But he realises just as “all politics is local”, all analyses are ultimately personal. It’s left to all Guyanese to “pick sense from nonsense”, between the verbal volleys!

…monument base

If your Eyewitness didn’t know better, he’d be excused for thinking somebody’s out to ensure the “Indian Arrival Monument” never gets placed on its pedestal.

What a comedy of errors it is, as the (sordid) facts slowly trickle out! Firstly, the monument itself – funded and crafted by India – has been sitting in a Government for over a year and a half!! What was the Government – or more the Ministry of Culture – specifically doing about the base since then??

Well according to revelations from the past two budget debates – “absolutely nothing!” is the answer. When questioned the Minister of Culture’s answer that nothing was budgeted, even though a plan had been left by the departed PPP Government.

Only when earlier this year most of the Indian groups in Guyana got together to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the abolition of indentureship – focusing world attention on Guyana – that the Government rushed to save face for its 11 per cent “Indian” representatives.

The monument? Too late, has been the cry!!

…legal direction

Why is the DPP forcing a Magistrate to reverse her decision on a matter that is totally within her bailiwick??! Is it pressure being placed on the DPP herself and transmitted downwards??
Shed a tear for our beleaguered judicial system.


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