Eyewitness: What’s the scoop…


…on our debt?

Your Eyewitness is a fiscal conservative of the Ben Franklin school as far as his personal (meagre!) funds are concerned. “A penny saved is a penny earned”, said ole Ben! Not that this homily has done much for yours truly…but then, at least Ben said you have to start with that “penny”. And that’s been the problem! Not too many pennies have come your Eyewitness’s way, so his fiscal options have never been too challenging! Poverty does instill its own discipline, and he was never larcenously inclined!!

Anyhow, he got to thinking about fiscal matters at a different level when he read that our external debt has risen slightly to US$1.3 billion. Now, this external debt has always been like a jumbie to your Eyewitness, his having lived through the US$2.1 billion debt left around his neck like an albatross (that’s how it felt!) by Burnham!! Now, it might appear to you, dear reader, that US$1.3 billion isn’t that much less than US$2.1 billion, but that’s where your Eyewitness has to remind you that context is everything.

And the context is that when Burnham got us into debt, Guyana was forced to default on the humungous loans he had taken for his grandiose, megalomaniac, pie-in-the-sky dreams. He’d nationalised all the big industries, while salivating at the thought of having all that money in his grubby big hands!! But it didn’t cross his mind that those companies needed to be MANAGED properly to deliver their profits, and the “square-pegs-in-round-holes” cronies he had put to run them just ran them into the ground!!

And defaulting on loans means the banks – private or the multilateral ones like the World Bank and IMF (banks will be banks!!) – will stop lending you, and the interest will start piling up faster than the droppings of an elephant with diarrhoea!! And it did, and as the sh*t hit, Burnham had to ban everything in sight!! Albeit, of course, the PNCite will tell you he didn’t REALLY ban things – just restricted the foreign currency to import them!! And that’s a classic example of “a distinction looking for a difference” ain’t it??

Anyhow, back to the present US$1.3B debt. This is the same it was back in April 2019 under the PNC, and this means that the PPP hasn’t really increased the external debt by a penny!! But, most importantly, one has to always balance debt in terms of one’s income. And, as we know, with our oil revenues piling up in the NY Fed and scheduled to double by next year…US$1.3B is nothing to worry about!!
Once we’re spending on infrastructure that’ll prepare our country for takeoff!!

…on the new DHB?

Guyanese can really make things difficult for themselves! Take the new-fixed-span concrete DHB that’s been in the making for almost a decade. Started by the PPP, it’s been held up for one reason or another after the PPP handed the baton over to then PNC in 2015. New feasibility studies were done…bids were submitted for design…some hanky-panky ensured that there was only one – which had to be dumped into the wastebasket etc, etc.

The PPP came up with another location from La Grange – 1/2 mile south of the present DHB on the West Side to Nandy Park, 1/2 mile south on the East Side. The La Grange side will feed into a new highway to Parika, and the Nandy Park side will be an overpass over the present EB Public Road into clover leaves connecting present and new highways being built.
Now, while the impact on the environment will be minimal…didn’t the EPA realise they should state why this is so??

…on COVID on schools

We’ve survived almost two years of the COVID pandemic, and obviously it’s affected every aspect of our lives…including our kids’.
The CSEC and CAPE results will signal how it’s been for them.