EYEWITNESS: More “accomplishments”…

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…and nation sinks

Our Eyewitness blew a fuse when he saw the pic of the “EC Independence Arch” being “commissioned”. Here’s the reason thousands of workers were stuck in traffic for hours; dozens of students were late and stressed out in their CSEC and UG exams and planes had to reschedule their flights, last Thursday: A photo-op of the head of ANSA McAL and his loyal country head handing over the arch to Prezzie and his Infrastructure Minister, Patterson.

How low can we sink?? Maybe it’s something woven into our cultural roots?? From the time Columbus came with baubles and pieces of mirrors to exchange for our land and our labour?? When will we learn? So ANSA gives us a $20M shiny Aluminium arch – after the $605 million contract for pharma at TWICE the going price – and we have to spread wide? ANSA’s been making oodles of profits from their operations in Guyana – just check their Balance Sheet on the web? While the Trini economy has been tanking, guess where the profit’s been coming from? But have they made any investment in our manufacturing capabilities?? Not in this life!!

How different are they from the old British colonial Bookers that had over 22 companies selling everything from needles to motor cars, but never put down a sugar refinery here to raise the value of our raw sugar. No! That was reserved for Britain just as ANSA’s manufacturing is reserved for Trinidad and elsewhere. We’re just a market into which the Caricom tariffs allow their goods to be dumped. No wonder their name here is ANSA McAL TRADING (GUYANA)!! They’re just traders – same as the Guyanese ones they used to hassle at Piarco Airport – save they ship their goods in containers and know folks at GRA!!

Then, of course, there’s their purchase of a radio station – the ownership of which ceased to be questioned by the Government!! All other radio stations were “giveaways” – but this one!! It seems to have gone unnoticed that the moment they took over ownership, ANSA eliminated the diversity in musical genres that used to be aired into its own Trini notion of what is “proper” music.

What’s scary about the ANSA Arch is it exposes what’s ahead with our present political leadership and the coming oil production.

…in State broadcasting

One of the “125 accomplishments” of the Government, the Director of Public Information (can you think of a more Orwellian totalitarian name??) – but more familiarly known as the PM’s Shill – boasted about was the “$250M subsidy for NCN”!! Yes, the nitwit actually boasted about plunking all this money into broadcasting the Government’s propaganda – but can’t remove VAT on private education which amounts to less than this!! So what if this means stifling variety in the delivery of education – away from demotivated public school teachers??

Anyhow, what does NCN need $250 million for? It’s not as if they’re a commercial-free broadcasting unit like the BBC in Britain or PBS in the US. NCN’s rates for TV are higher than all the other TV stations. What are they doing with all those revenues?? What the humungous subsidy means, however, is the Government is subsidising mediocrity.

If the programming of NCN was even half-way decent, they could cover their costs. They need the subsidy to reward their propagandists!

…in salaries?

Another of the shill’s “accomplishments” was a $50,000 bonus to public service workers. But by giving the 10 per cent salary increase “prospectively” – FROM the announcement in August rather than for the year — the raise was LESS than the bonus!! Ouch!!

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