ECONOMY & INFRACTURE –A Better Life for All Guyanese
The Mission of an APNU government is to continuously strive to enhance the standard of living and the quality of life of all Guyanese. Accomplishing this Mission is based on APNU’s comprehensive National Development Master Plan which requires innovative thinking and meticulous planning, implementation, monitoring and control. A process has been developed which APNU will diligently follow to ensure that the citizens of Guyana have a clear understanding, at the outset of an APNU administration, where the nation will be heading, how we will get there, the time it will take, the financial cost involved and how the lives of the people of Guyana would be enhanced from year to year.
The PPP/C has promised Guyanese more jobs, better healthcare, improved educational opportunities, enhanced infrastructure and much more in all of their election campaigns since 1992. They have delivered poorly -partly because of corruption among their entrenched party members, but mostly because the PPP/C top party members lack vision and management skills to deliver on their campaign promises. The lack of vision and management skills combined with maximum levels of corruption and theft on a grand scale are the main reasons why Guyana remains the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Corrupt and ill-trained members of the PPP/C regime since 1992, including President Janet Jagan, President Bharrat Jagdeo, President Donald Ramotar and their underlings with Marxist-Leninist and backward ideologies, have turned Guyana into a near-failed state oligarchy. Guyanese have heard 22 years of excuses from the PPP/C regarding constant blackouts, irregular supply of barely-potable water, dangerous levels of crime, poor schools and 35% of the population living under the poverty line while PPP/C leaders and their oligarch friends live luxurious lives including healthcare commute to the United States. Retired President Bharrat Jagdeo chartered a Learjet to fly to Fort Lauderdale for a non-life threating ailment and the cost was reportedly paid by the poor people of Guyana. Recently President Ramotar and his Attorney General Anil Nandlall travelled to the United States and blamed Guyana’s problems on the combined opposition and poor image on Kaieteur News media. The PPP/C has never accepted responsibility for their failure or tried to change strategy and continue to take Guyana to a “failed-state” destination. APNU represents CHANGE & RENEWAL
CORRUPTION – A Major Impediment to Guyana’s Progress
Corruption is a major impediment to progress. Not only is corruption widespread in Guyana, but much of it originates from, and is managed by, officials at the highest levels of government. A symptom of this is the PPP/C government repeatedly awarding contracts to companies that have no expertise or performance track record in the relevant field and then expressing “surprise” when the projects go belly-up, with millions of taxpayers’ dollars squandered. Another symptom is government awarding new contracts to companies that failed to deliver on previous contracts. The corrupt practice which has awarded hundreds of millions of US dollar contracts to oligarch friends of the PPP/C will be demolished by APNU, and steps will be implemented to retrieve Ill Gotten Gains from the oligarchs on behalf of Guyana’s citizens. Corruption originating from the very top of government permeates through the entire society and, before long, becomes part of the national culture. Well-funded and innovative global investors shy away from investing in countries like Guyana because American, British and EU governments have instituted severe penalties for companies involved in bribery and corruption.
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT MASTER PLAN
APNU’s top priority would be to generate a long-term National Development Master Plan that would be the blueprint for an APNU government to follow and a guide to successive governments in the future. APNU’s criteria to generate a Master Plan for Guyana requires the following:
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT TASK FORCE
APNU will have a strategic vision for Guyana which is clear on the broad elements of the Mission, and a detailed plan to achieve our Mission. This is not be an ad hoc process and will be based on a National Development Master Plan (“Master Plan”). Our Master Plan will be innovative, Global + Local and involve meticulous long-term planning, implementation, monitoring and control. The PPP/C regime, which is secretive and corrupt, has created few reliable documents and reports from which a viable Master Plan may be created currently. Many PPP/C deals, which have been funded with monies owned by the people of Guyana, have been executed in secrecy, so the extent of Guyana’s liabilities and true-value of government assets and monies owed to Guyana’s Treasury are unknown.
MASTER PLAN SUCCESSES
APNU has drawn on the examples from two countries which have successfully implemented effective long-term planning leading to top level prosperity: Singapore and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Singapore: When Singapore gained independence in 1965, its future looked bleak because it was a small island with no natural resources. The only option was to plan a way out of this dilemma. An Economic Development Board was established to master-plan the tiny nation’s development. Suffice it to say, Singapore is today a Global economic powerhouse that has averaged a 9% per annum GDP growth rate since 1965.
United Arab Emirates (UAE): Prior to 1971, the citizens of the principalities which today make up the UAE, relied upon diving for pearls in the Arabian Sea as their main source of income. When the Japanese flooded the market with cultured pearls, it devastated the pearl industry in the seven principalities. As in the case of Singapore, it became necessary to plan a way out of poverty. This led the seven principalities to form a federation, the United Arab Emirates, and to master-plan the way to future prosperity. Tiny Dubai is one of the seven principalities of the UAE and, like Singapore, is something of a Middle Eastern economic powerhouse even though oil contributes less than 5% of its annual revenues.
GUYANA CAN MASTER PLAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL SUCCESSES
Guyana, with its sizeable land mass and an abundance of natural resources, suffers a lack of the most critical resource for future prosperity: A competent government. APNU is dedicated to lead Guyana with a competent government because we know socio-economic success is reliant on a dedicated team of elected leaders who work in tandem with a seasoned team technical staff who will implement and manage the Master Plan.
APNU will give utmost priority to the preparation of the Master Plan. To undertake this, APNU will establish a National Development Task Force (“Task Force”) comprising experts with the credentials and proven track records to incorporate the elements of the Mission and Master Plan specified above. The members of the Task Force will work closely with, and represent the interests of, the various entities of government, the private sector and with civil society so that all stakeholders contribute, embrace and commit to the preparation and implementation of the Master Plan. All parties will work together to educate the public about the merits of the Master Plan and the impact that it would have on the lives of the Guyanese people. The Master Plan, and progress of its implementation, would be published on a website for the people of Guyana to track. Transparency will be a core principle of an APNU administration.
SAVING FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS
Resource rich nations like Norway, Kuwait and Qatar have established professionally managed funds into which a certain percentage of the revenues from deplete-prone natural resources are deposited. APNU will establish such a fund to provide a buffer when our natural resources like gold and timber are depleted. These funds are off-limits to current spending and serve like a pension for future generations. An APNU administration will treat the property of Guyana’s people with care and not to be converted into personal use as evident in the PPP’s rogue rule of Guyana. APNU will defund the extravagant lifestyles of former presidents and cabinet members of the PPP and invest these resources into education and healthcare for all Guyanese.
APNU realizes the natural resources of Guyana are wholly owned by the people of Guyana and not any politician or powerful individual. This means awarding contracts to any entity, both foreign and local, will be done in the open and debated with the sole purpose to deduce the benefits to Guyana and its people. APNU will not ever “give-away” Guyana’s precious resources to foreigners and oligarch friends like the PPP/C administration has done.
APNU is well aware that all of the expertise that would be required to undertake the work of the Task Force and to support the implementation of the Master Plan is not currently available in Guyana and will have to be sourced from overseas. Unlike the PPP/C administration, APNU will not let political patronage be the guiding principle for employment in government. While comprehensive programs would be undertaken to ensure that local Guyanese are trained or retrained to meet the needs of Master Plan implementation, APNU will reach out to Guyanese across the globe to participate in Guyana’s future development. It is no secret that the Guyanese diaspora has made significant contributions to the economic development of other nations. These Guyanese have been deliberately excluded by the PPP/C government because the PPP/C lacks the foresight to acknowledge that skilled Guyanese the world over represents a critical resource that should be aggressively pursued. APNU will also need to tap non-Guyanese talent whose skills would be required to support the implementation of the Master Plan.
LOW POPULATION – A MAJOR IMPEDIMENT TO HIGH GROWTH
Approximately half of Guyana’s population is of working age -about 365,000. This worker base cannot support an ambitious Master Plan seeking high GDP growth for decades to come and to meet the manpower needs of the projects that the Task Force will specify. The APNU Task Force will include proposals for a sensible strategy to address this issue.
The first two tasks of an APNU administration will be:
(i) To establish the Task Force.
(ii) To quantify the Mission and to establish the Objectives and Milestones specified above.
The Mission of an APNU government will incorporate the elements mentioned above, but meticulous planning and implementation are the keys to success. The four M’s – Mission, Management, Manpower and Money – are fundamental to Guyana’s development. In order to fund the Master Plan implementation, our government will, on a sustained basis, efficiently generate revenues in various forms of taxes, royalties and also income from government-owned enterprises and assets. Currently, many assets owned by the people of Guyana and leased to third parties generate little or no income due to PPP/C corruption and PPP/C inefficiency. APNU believes lower taxes with more efficient revenue collection protocols will significantly enhance revenues while improving the rate of business investment and economic growth. Lower taxes will also allow Guyanese to control more of their income and this will lead to improved lives while growing the economy.
No self-respecting nation can be sustained, much less grow its economy, by relying on grants, “hand-outs”, debt reduction, excessive debts and the like. This has been Guyana’s malaise for almost a quarter of a century and the image of Guyana in the international arena is one of “beggar” as the nation continues to languish close to the bottom of the development league in this hemisphere after more than 22 years of PPP government. The founder of the PPP once referred to Guyana’s potential as “…the breadbasket of the Caribbean…”. His party has turned Guyana into the “basket case” of the Caribbean. After more than 22 years of PPP miss-rule, the nation is firmly planted in the category of “basket case” struggling to feed its own citizens. Today poverty and hopelessness pervade the society and hope lies in the anticipation of a visa to resettle in the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe or anywhere else.
THE PRESIDENT IS ULTIMATELY RESPONSIBLE TO THE PEOPLE OF GUYANA
An APNU President will be totally responsible for the nation’s performance. The Cabinet and Ministerial appointees would be dedicated to Guyana’s development and not to self-enrichment. All Cabinet and Ministerial appointees will be carefully selected and given responsibilities to achieve the goals of the nation’s Master Plan. These appointees will also be held accountable to the laws of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana –different from the PPP government which protect and cover-up the reprehensible and sometimes criminal behavior of its leadership, cabinet, appointee and friends who are awarded contracts and fail to deliver according to specifications. An APNU administration will make appointments of personnel based strictly on merit –people who can deliver on the objectives of the Mission.
APNU realizes an inadequate Cabinet leads to inadequate performance within Ministries and this inadequacy will permeate all the way down. This would inevitably lead to failure to accomplish the Mission. An APNU government would not allow this to occur, since the people of Guyana has suffered from this form of personnel ineptitude since 1992. Each Cabinet member will also have a technical staff, so decisions are made with careful analysis and consultation.