Our Christmas Wish- Population wants the country to move forward
By Dr. Peter Ramsaroop
Recently in Parliament, some opposition parliamentarians, by abstaining from voting on critical items such as the specialty hospital, allowed the majority party (PPP/C) project to be funded. This is the first sign that their supporters who has been angry at their tactics to block the nation’s economic and social progress is causing some of them to break ranks with their party. I have always argued that capital projects that have been proposed by the government such as the Hospital, Energy and Airport expansion must be funded. Each of these projects when put together, demonstrate the commitment by the government to enhance these critical sectors. The specialty hospital is surely needed especially to effectively manage complex diseases such as heart, diabetes and other internal conditions.
2013 Report Card:
The fact that 2013 has come to an end, without the approval of the Energy and airport projects will have a significant toll on us in 2014 and beyond. Every country knows that without cheaper energy, it is difficult to be competitive regionally and globally. Sectors such as manufacturing depends heavily on cheaper energy. The failure of the Opposition to support this project in 2013 in order to be ready for the new generation needs by 2020 has now put them at great risks to compete. What the opposition need to realize is this is not a zero-sum game where there must be a winner and loser. They must evaluate the needs of the projects as it relates to the larger vision of Guyana to be a nation that builds on its infrastructure for the new generation. These projects as proposed by the PPP/C and listed in their 2011 Manifesto are not projects created just on paper but after years of comprehensive planning by many contributors and for the most part supported by the 2011 Opposition parties manifesto. Then that begs the question why would then these same opposition parliamentarians disapprove some of the same plans they proposed prior to elections. Their supporters need to ask them why. Again, when it comes to our country’s Today and Future, the only winner should be Guyana. The Opposition can approve a project with certain conditions to be measured. The failed Opposition is somehow bent on just saying NO. They are on the wrong campaign – They should join the campaign saying No to Drugs, or No to Littering, not No to Economic success.
In 2013 also, other projects were supposed to be debated such as the long awaited Road to Brazil which many of us predict will be the singular most important investment our nation can facilitate with our neighbor whose economy is within the top ten in the World. The atmosphere in Parliament is just not conducive to presenting many of these important and major projects. As I stated in the past, our economy does not have excess economic capacity and require every project to be started at specific junctions in order for Guyana to stay or become more competitive with our neighbors. One senior Private Sector business leader told me that we need to forge a stronger ties with Suriname and look to combine some of the projects such as the deep water harbor which is the other major initiative proposed by the PPP/C to be implemented in their 5 year plan.
Budget cuts of 2013 have affected many of our local regions. When a budget is presented, it is not for stove pipe development meaning singular type projects but a comprehensive and integrated approach in nation building. E.g. the expansion of the airport is tied to increase Tourism focus including the Marriott and other projects within the sector. Therefore when one comes without the other, added pressure is put on the success factor. This particular example is also tied to our aggressive approach by the Minister of Trade and Tourism to solve the travel sector woes and attracting new and recognized airlines. Last Saturday, I travelled out of the Airport and got fully soaked. I watched the TravelSpan passengers get off their first flight and had to pull out umbrellas. Why can’t we just get an Airport approved with covered jetways. Is the Opposition so vindictive?
The crack in the Opposition is a good thing. It shows we still have some of them that believes in our nation and will not allow the 1980s outdated leaders to constantly block our nation’s ability to succeed. It is not just about our Today, but it is about our Tomorrow and our plan for our new generation. If we do not build on our infrastructure today and give them the best opportunity to succeed when their turn comes, we would have failed our children.
Our culture must change to rational thinking and be weighed against the needs of our future generation. I hope the Christmas season brings some sense of semblance and good will to the 10th Parliament and opposition parties can reflect on their failure in 2013 to help contribute to our nation’s success in 2014.