Letter: APNU/AFC no good as Govt, worse as Opposition

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Dear Editor,

The venomous snake is now crawling out of its hideout and is trying once again to poison the minds of Guyanese with the “corruption mantra”. Nagamootoo’s vacuous, venomous and vindictive insinuations of “vaccines, vultures and victims” will never gain traction again.

His true identity has been laid bare for the world to behold. The coalition had spun this corruption mantra to perfection and the gullible had swallowed it. Guyanese will never fall for this again when for 5 years they had witnessed nor only what real corruption but what real rigging is under the coalition. Young Guyanese had a taste of Burnhamism of action! And to those who had forgotten, their memories were jolted!

Guyanese must never forget that coalition politics destroyed this country on two occasions and this should never be permitted to happen again. Nagamootoo knows this too well. When one analyses what took place in the coalition of 1964 and that of 2015, one can discern stark and compelling similarities to support this proposition.

Let me refresh Nagamootoo’s memory. General Elections were held in Guyana (then British Guiana) on 7th December, 1964 which saw the PPP, despite winning a majority of 24 seats saw the beginning of dirty coalition politics in Guyana, between the PNC and the UF. The interests of the people were not of any importance and this unholy alliance engineered served both foreign interests and that of Burnham and the PNC. In 2015 again the coalition was never about the people but to gain power in order to feather own nests. This coalition had marked also the beginning of a most ruthless reign of the Burnham dictatorship which saw the rapid decline of our socio-economic structure. History would repeat itself in 2015 when in just within 5 years the Treasury became empty, the reserves depleted and the country facing bankruptcy, unemployment rose and the standard of living plummeted.

The economic decline began to gain traction in 1966, just two years into Government. Agriculture became the prime target of the PNC as it was after 2015. The coalition Government was deliberately applying policies detrimental to the agriculture sector. Similar to the promises made during the 2015 election campaign, during the 1964 election campaign, the farmers were promised 30 acres of land with good drainage and irrigation, they would get good markets and fair prices. They had also promised that rice farmers will get $10 more per bag from the Cuban rice market. In 2015 they were promised $9000 dollars per bag. However, it was not only in agriculture, but the other sectors began a rapid decline. The balance of trade which was favourable up to 1964 became increasingly unfavourable, showing an increasing deficit each year (1965 it was $4.3 million and 1966 by $4.3 million and by the first half 1967 it was a staggering $26 million). Over 4250 workers were retrenched, this included 1000 sugar workers and 1500 bauxite workers and the unemployment statistic rose to 23 per cent. It must be noted that this exact scenario played out when the coalition assumed power in 2015.

It is ironical that during this period of ruthless dictatorship and corruption, Nagamootoo had written and spoken volumes and was one of the prime targets of the PNC but the return of the PNC dictatorship in 2015 which he supported, saw him hearing and seeing no evil. He was himself utterly consumed by the same corrupt practices which he had vociferously condemned.

Just as in 2015, the promises were not kept and things fell apart rapidly. In fact, hunger and suffering began to stalk the land. The coalition was simply a ruse to oust the PPP and get into power. It’s just startling how the PNC can fool Guyanese with the same promises twice. This time this unholy alliance was spearheaded and orchestrated by Nagamootoo, the self-acclaimed disciple of Dr Jagan and the anointed one.

The disastrous effect of the 1964 coalition lasted for 28 years. It must be recalled that under the PNC dictatorship, the entire socio-economic structure collapsed and it became criminal to even put certain foods on the table, such as potato, flour, onion, garlic, flour and sardines, etc. Moreover, during these horrific years, the PNC apart from completely bankrupting the economy, sold off many of our valuable assets for next to nothing, enriching families and friends and those who can provide a lucrative kick-back. This was more pronounced just before the 1992 elections.

Fortunately, in 1992 and until 2015 the PPP/C under the leadership of the late Dr Jagan and then Dr Jagdeo propelled Guyana into an upward progressive trajectory which moved Guyana from a poor low-income country to a middle-income country with a per capita income in excess of US$5000.

Even before they coalesced in 2015, the AFC joined hands with the PNC to frustrate and destabilise the PPP/C Government. This became more pronounced from 2011 when Nagamootoo became the “scissors man” for the PNC. This man saw an opportunity to fulfil his political ambitions so he moved a no-confidence motion to remove the PPP/C Government. This was achieved and the elections in 2015 saw the return of an infamous alliance and he became the “siren” Prime Minister. The coalition in 1964 was re-enacted but with a difference. The AFC was the perfect partner in crime. Ironically, the no-confidence motion in 2018 was the precursor to the eventual toppling of the fledgling PNC/AFC dictatorship in 2020. This was poetic justice!

Unlike Peter D’Aguiar, the AFC’s leadership in 2015 saw an opportunity for self-aggrandisement and enrichment. The APNU/AFC had squandered and mismanaged our economy through corrupt practices to the extent that they have spent more than $1.3 trillion dollars with nothing to show, in fact Guyanese have been overtaxed with an additional annual average of $80 billion more than under the PPP/C. It is equally alarming that they spent more than $600 billion than what the previous PPP/C Government spent in their last 4 years in office! Where has the money gone when it is considered that more Guyanese were unemployed than ever before and that 4 sugar estates have been closed and the factories, the infrastructures and the cultivation completely annihilated. In fact, the AFC’s leadership referred to GuySuCo as the “black hole” and likened subsidies to “raping of the Treasury”. The “sugar champion” had deserted the sugar workers. Fortunately, this Government has once again come to the rescue of the entity which from all indications will once again be brought back to its glorious days. Luckily, Dr Jagdeo’s leadership ensured that Guyanese do not have to wait for another 28 years!

Now the PPP/C Government is once again in Government and rapidly building the socio-economic structures despite inheriting an empty Treasury and depleted reserves and faced with two disasters of gigantic proportion. And what is the Opposition coalition doing? They are hell-bent of derailing the progress, crying corruption and attempting once again to deceive and fool the people, shouting “fake vaccines and corruption”! Coalition has always served those in power rather than the people and it is time the Opposition make some meaningful contribution to the development of our country.

Yours sincerely,
Haseef Yusuf