For fifty years – since 1969 – the Pegasus was the only ‘name brand” hotel in our dear mudland. Imagine that!! Yet we’d been persuaded by the Brits that we were a “Caribbean” country – all of which were chock-full with five-star hotels that they could – and did! – flaunt in our faces!! The hotels, of course, represented the acme of “First World” fantasy living!! But juxtaposed with our shacks, maybe – as Marx suggested – if we had them, our revolution might’ve actually happened??
As it was, we had our solitary “Peg”, which gradually sank into genteel disrepair like the rest of our once-proud Georgetown Creole upper crust!! But thankfully, not into “disrepute”, like the nearby Tiger Bay quick-time spots!! It was joined by the Princess – now the Ramada Princess – next to the Providence Stadium, just in time for the 2007 Cricket World Cup. But it was a visionary President Jagdeo who set the Marriott brand in train in 2011, and completed same in 2015 – just in time for our oil boom!! The fella must’ve been psychic – since in 2011, the worry was how’d we ever fill the US$51M top-of-the-line 5-Star hotel!!
Now, even with the venerable Pegasus rising like a Phoenix (to mix two metaphors!) with its brand-new, futuristic, 12-floor, megalith-like extension, everyone’s sweating how soon the dozen or so other hotel projects are gonna be completed. To accommodate the deluge of business, overseas Guyanese and tourists who’ll be flocking to the shores of the FASTEST GROWING ECONOMY IN THE WORLD!! That’s right – that’s us!! And the erstwhile Caribbean destinations that used to snicker at us must be getting greener than sea moss!!
One report in this paper described hotels for which the sod HAD BEEN TURNED, where the sod IS TURNING, and where the SOD WILL BE TURNED!! That’s a whole lotta sod in play!!
But seriously, folks, while the average man and woman in the street are surely impressed that we’re finally getting to look a little less that your typical Third World picture-postcard dump, they gotta be asking when is all this development’s gonna be reaching them?? After all, the PNC Coalition left them in the trenches, being battered by COVID-19 as hundreds of businesses had to close or cut back. Then the PPP had to deal with the second whammy of the fall-out from the Ukraine war!! Supply-chain disruptions piled on supply-chain disruptions – all pushing prices to the sky and draining pocketbooks that were depleted, to begin with.
Well, all your Eyewitness can say is: the Government’s doing a dammed good job in this transition between the trail-wreck left by the PNC and pulling it out back onto the tracks of full employment!!
The folks staying in those hotels will be opening up businesses!
…and Suriname protests
What we can’t afford to do is to imitate what’s happening next door in Suriname. There, the good citizens had voted in a man names Bouterse, who’d staged a coup in 1980, and in 1982 had lined up 15 Opposition leaders who criticised him and shot them dead. He appointed “civilian governments”, but he really ruled behind the scenes, and indulged in drug smuggling and gun running on the side!!
By 1987, he formed a party, NDP, but lost ignominiously in the elections – only to depose the Government with a telephone call in 1990!! Eventually, he won in 2010, and again in 2015. Go figure!! The young’uns had forgotten about his origins?? By then he’d not only drained the treasury, but put the country in debt to the tune of one-and-a-half-times their entire GDP!! Their foreign reserves had been wiped out.
Now his supporters are picketing Santokie because he hasn’t solved Bouterse’s mess in two years!!
Well, here, the CoI will soon confirm the PNC’s perfidies!!
No matter where you look, economies have to first be allowed to grow – during which time some areas would grow more than others. But eventually governmental policies would smooth that out to deliver equitable development.