Letter: Too little too late

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Dear Editor,

In the aftermath of December 21st, government ministers have suddenly grown a conscience and empathy for sections of the population.

All of a sudden, ministers are operating on overdrive, meeting with market vendors and DJs and holding public days for members of the public to illustrate how much they love the Guyanese people.

But all this is short-lived. It is only because the government has fallen and they need to face the very people they have neglected and disappointed for almost four years, that they’re doing this.

Had it not been for the no-confidence motion that they lost, Minister Annette Furguson will never be holding public days to meet with anyone.

Before December the 21st, government ministers could never be seen associating with ordinary Guyanese in the Stabroek and Bourda market square. They were too busy flying high, living the good life.

But all that is now threatened. Perhaps if they had shown some consideration for others rather than throwing down barriers and bullying security guards in a private parking lot; and perhaps if they had stood by the people and terminated the corrupt parking meter contract before things got out of hand; and perhaps if they had paid the teachers a livable wage instead of forcing them to go on a nation-wide strike, they could have convinced many of their sincerity this time around.

But everyone knows this is just a sham. Too little too late. These people are shameless.

For over three and a half years it was almost impossible for the average citizen to get close to a minister of government, much less to have an audience with one of them.

Some time ago, when I met with residents of Ithaca on the West Bank Berbice late one night at their request, they solicited my assistance in exposing the unscrupulous actions of a lawyer, a well-known supporter of the APNU, who was trying to rob them of their ancestral lands there.

Instead of going public with a letter to the press as they wanted me to do, I suggested a non-political approach, a meeting with Attorney General, Basil Williams to help them resolve the legality of this problem which was festering for some time.

I’m not sure whether they had earlier contacted the Region 5 APNU+AFC Member of Parliament, Jennifer Wade, but the villagers of Ithaca who voted overwhelmingly for the APNU+AFC reached out to a PPP/C Member of Parliament because they needed help and were frustrated because they had no access to a government minister.

In dismissing my suggestion for a meeting with the Attorney General, they explained they had no confidence in him. Twice they travelled to Georgetown with a busload of affected landowners to meet with the AG, and twice they returned to Ithaca empty-handed having failed to get pass his secretary.

The next day, I travelled to Georgetown and met with Basil Williams at the High Court. After pleading with him to visit the residents of  Ithaca, he told me he had no time to do so. “I’m a busy man” he said, “I have no time to go all the way to Berbice.”

I reminded him that during the general elections in 2015, the PPP/C only secured one vote in all of Ithaca, and he owes it to the people there to address their concerns. He was unmoved.

I then had to threaten to expose my conversation with him in the press, so that the people of Ithaca know that the Attorney General, whom they put in office, had no time for them. He finally conceded and decided to meet with the delegation from Ithaca at his office a few days later.

As a Member of Parliament and Justice of the Peace, I have listened to the cries of the people, many of them are from the APNU+AFC strongholds of Ithaca and Hopetown in the Berbice area.

The lack of jobs; the additional tax burdens; the difficulties of making ends meet; and the inconvenience suffered by many ordinary Guyanese, some of them single parents, market vendors and housewives who are now forced to go to a JP to declare their source of income before they can withdraw the misly amounts they hold in the banks.

This government is insensitive to the cries of our people. They’re obsessed with the lifestyle they now enjoy and don’t want to lose it. But reality has finally stepped in and so they must return to the people they have neglected and hope their memories are all short.

Let’s not fool ourselves, they may not want to admit it, but privately, government is preparing for elections.

State funds are being abused for campaign purposes: They’re sending ministers and PNC activists into the interior on several chartered aircrafts to do party work; and expensive full-page colored ads are being used daily in the Guyana Chronicle for propaganda purposes and damage-control at $107,000 per ad.

Hardly a week goes by without government giving away land, money and contracts to a selected few, friends and family, in a shameless attempt to buy votes at taxpayers expense.

But Guyanese should take all the freeness they can get now from this government. They deserve it. Then on election day, vote them out of office for their incompetence, arrogance and broken promises.

Yours sincerely,

Harry Gill
PPP/C Member of Parliament

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