Guyana is not on the mend, it’s falling apart

first_imgDear Editor,I was totally dumbfounded upon reading in sections of the media an editorial captioned ‘Guyana on the mend’. There were so many inaccuracies and empty rhetoric devoid of any factual data that the only conclusion that I could have drawn is that the editorial is bent on ‘selling dreams,’ just like the Coalition Government is selling dreams to a ‘good life’.The editorial said the crime rate, especially murder, rapes and gang violence, has reduced and road fatalities are lower’. In January this year, the same media house carried an article captioned ‘US warns its citizens about Guyana’s crime rate – says local police lack resources to respond to serious crime’. I had stated that the US Department had asked its citizens to exercise increased caution when visiting Guyana, due to the country’s crime rate. That same article further added that, in terms of crime, ‘Guyana is at the same level with Jamaica…Since the year started, there has been an increase in armed robberies, with three to four reported cases daily’.Every day the newspapers’ headlines on crimes are sending shock waves throughout this country. I wonder why suddenly an editorial in the same newspaper can carry such a contradictory editorial.The editorial lauded the Guyana Revenue Authority for being less corrupt, reducing the smuggling of counterfeit items and increasing its revenue collection. The writer needs to understand that bringing a few smugglers to justice has not reduced smuggling. Most of the times when smugglers are caught, it is because they failed to adequately bribe the relevant officials. Only recently, a high-ranking SWAT officer was intercepted with 30 cases of whisky. In that case, the arresting officers were not aware whom the whisky belonged to. Then, in April, a boat smuggling fuel was intercepted simply because the GEA officials were not aware that a senior Government official was involved.Be not fooled, smuggling in Berbice is business as usual! Moreover, it does not take a fortune teller to tell us the increased revenue collection is the result on increased taxation, and the 200 new taxes are catapulting this nation into poverty! Businessmen and citizens are reeling from this increased taxation, but the writer sees this as complimentary. The writer should tell us how effectively this increased revenue is being spent by this spendthrift Government!On the other hand, the Government’s policies have negatively impacted the construction sector mainly through increased taxes and other fees. In November 2017, the World Bank highlighted a decline in doing business in Guyana. The Report for Ease of Doing Business in 2018 showed that Guyana slipped two places, from 124 to 126.In addition, the Bank of Guyana Report 2018 stated that construction and service activities were relatively flat at the end of March 2018. Private Sector credit to construction and engineering declined by 11.6 per cent, while public spending on construction projects fell by 37.4 per cent compared to the same period in 2017. The Finance Minister had projected construction to grow by 14.5 per cent in 2018. It seems that the Sector is off to a ‘good’ start.The writer unabashedly bragged about the Government’s “zero tolerance” policy on crime, corruption and illegal drugs working, when an entire penitentiary was razed to the ground by inmates, drugs are being openly peddled even in our prisons, and prisoners celebrate parties with expensive liquor and drugs. So one can just imagine what happens on the outside! Moreover, corruption has been galloping in all directions and at all levels from the very inception of this Government taking office: the lack of transparency and accountability in the Durban Park project, the Sussex Street Drugs Bond, the single sourced drugs’ procurement, the awarding of contracts to party hacks and cronies who are ill-qualified, etc. In every region there are reports of corruption from AFC Party officials, especially in Region 6; and, most remarkably, until now, Cabinet still awards contracts while the Procurement Commission remains toothless and neutered.Moreover, far from the truth, people do not believe that things are getting better under this Government, and that the country is on the mend. The economy is on a downward slide, recording the lowest growth rate of 2.1 per cent in 2017, and inflation is on the rise, with over 5000 dismissed sugar workers living in dire poverty. Even those who are currently employed are finding it difficult to have three square meals. Since 2015, they have not been given a cent increase, and, in fact, many benefits were snatched from them. Until now, the Government does not have a plan to resolve the many debilitating issues affecting GUYSUCO, while the sugar production level keeps on decreasing. Forsaking agriculture for oil is asinine.Youths are still jobless, as their exodus gains momentum, and their hopes have withered beyond redemption under this Government. Unfortunately, ‘empty promises and propaganda are NOT things of the past, as this Government continues to sell dreams of a ‘good life’! Guyana is not on the mend, it’s falling apart!Yours sincerely,Haseef YusufRDC Councillor, Region 6last_img

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