LETTER: We must not be surprised with the economic results because of weak leaders


Dear Editor:
History will prove that when Justice Owen Roberts delivered his lecture at Oxford University in 1951 on “The Rule of Law in the International Community”, he referred to the idea that following the rule of law is synonymous with being a “highly civilised nations.” In that lecture, he stated that on the test of being classified as a highly civilised nation, in his words, for a nation to qualify, it must meet some tests.
These tests are: “first, a country that has a representative form of Government, second, a country where individual liberty and freedom are protected by law, [and third] where there are bounds and limits to what the Government can do.”
Justice Roberts was able to skilfully encapsulate what is vitally needed in nations like Guyana with weak institutions and egotistic political leaders who think of themselves and their party more than the people they serve. What is needed in Guyana is more democracy, more respect for the basic rights of man, and more commitment on the part of all politicians to the rule of law and our Constitution.
This is the path that will create a bond and a route that can finally emancipate our people from this economic, subversive system that rewards the 10% closest to the ruling politicians and starve the other 90%. This model failed Guyana since we were given that power to manage our own affairs in 1966 and it continues to fail us today. No side is innocent in this transgression and let me be very clear on that fact.
Thus, we must not be surprised with the economic results because of these weak leaders. Sixty years ago, Guyana and Singapore had average wealth-per-person, similarly sized. Today, the average Singaporean is 100 times wealthier than their Guyanese compatriot.
This reality must be contextualised with the fact that Singapore is nothing but a piece of rock, while Guyana is a mecca of all sorts of natural resources that any Singaporean would dream of getting their hand on. Remember, Singapore has zero crude oil, but one of the largest value-added petrochemical industry in all of Asia. This happened because great minds dream big and small minds dwell in low-class stuff like political bullyism, violation of the Constitution, and ethnic supremacy.
Fast forwarding to the statement from the President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce as sourced from the 2018 Bank of Guyana Annual Report. He highlighted the fact that it was the construction and services sectors that prime the economy in 2018.
If these two sectors were extracted from the economic growth computation, Guyana would have certainly regressed and I am worried by this fact. Why I am worried? If one is to look at what is driving the construction sector, it is not medium-term private sector-led construction with 5-year projects like a hydro-power plant or a deep-water harbour or a road to Brazil.
It is actually the central Government artificially priming the economy in a knee-jerk manner with project of waste and financial squander. Team Granger continues to meet these uncoordinated spending by taxing and borrowing more which directly leads to the crowd-out of the local private sector from the economy. That is certainly not a sustainable model unless, of course, you plan to borrow more and tax the people more to feed the spending spree in the State Sector? The end game is that since 2017 there has been massive capital flight from Guyana.
As to the services sector, that growth was caused by some six transactions. The empirical evidence revealed that they were mainly for the import of some oil pipelines that never created one medium-term job on the shores of Guyana. These transactions were booked in the accounts of Guyana, but they did not create a sustainable impact in the pockets of the people that matter— the masses.
Once those pipes are installed in the sea far away from Port Georgetown, there will not be an annual repeat on such a grand scale unless more oil is found and that is a probability that depends on divine intervention and a heavy dose of luck. However, a sugar investment in a sugar refinery can create hundreds of new jobs and feed the economic numbers annually for decades to come— major difference!
Irrespective of how desperate this need to hold on to power remains in the mind of Mr David Granger, he must understand there is an indissolubly link that binds the principle of following the rule of law and actual economic performance. NASDAQ can preach that Guyana has gold from now until the cows come home, it isn’t gold until it is extracted and the money is in the bank.
As this JUNTA continues to violate the Constitution, there will be a huge push back and the next move is to lobby the international community for social justice. The world will be compelled to impose economic sanctions on Guyana if the CCJ ruling is disregarded, which means that all of the oil revenue can be quarantined in a safe city like Washington DC in an escrow account until Guyana holds free and fair elections. Is this the price Mr Granger is willing to pay for a few more siren rides?
So, what good will this push by his party (the PNC) do? All the PNC is doing today is migrating Guyana into an uncivilised nation? In the QC school song, there are these words “Strive must we with hand and brain, Ne’er the twain dissever. Wooing wisdom cheerily— QUEEN’S, QUEEN’S, FOREVER! Or as we say “Reginae Collegium”! Let us trust and hope there are glimmers of QC remaining in the DNA of Mr David Granger or else for generations to come, everyone who went to Queens will have to carry that collective burden as my predecessors did, when in 1968, one of our boys stole democracy in Guyana.

Sasenarine Singh