A PARTNERSHIP FOR NATIONAL UNITY
Thursday 1st September 2011
Media Centre, Congress Place, Sophia
- A.P.N.U condemns the PPP/C Administration for creating the conditions which have resulted in this legacy of shame. The leaked cables reveal that the PPP/C, under the Jagdeo Administration, has exhibited a marked unwillingness to cooperate with our friends and major donors to prevent our nation from descending into the firm grasp of the drug lords;
- Dr. Cheddi Jagan took a very responsible approach to the sugar industry. However, the PPP is now being led by persons who lack the vision, judgment and moral fortitude to care sufficiently about this country and the wellbeing of fellow Guyanese.
THE PPP/C LEGACY OF SHAME
We have recently been reading some unflattering perceptions of Guyana through information released by Wikileaks. These releases confirm, that it is no longer a matter of conjecture, that Guyana is seen by many, including countries which wish us well, as essentially a Narco-state.
This humiliating classification of Guyana was made a long time ago. This view of our country has been reinforced: by the brutal slayings of over 200 young adult Guyanese; the extra-judicial killings by members of the Guyana Police Force; the torture of Guyanese citizens by members of the security forces; and the refusal of the PPP/C Administration to conduct a proper Inquiry that would get to the bottom of these crimes, as detailed in the Dossier submitted by the Joint Opposition Political Parties (JOPP) to the international community.
The compliant nature of the PPP/C Administration is evidenced by the ongoing discovery of large quantities of cocaine in exports from Guyana to Caribbean and other countries, along with the arrests of many drug couriers from Guyana in other countries. It is significant that, despite these occurrences, there have been no arrests or trial of any major drug dealer in Guyana.
The label of a Narco-state is not something that we sought, or wish upon our country, but sadly, because of the apparent connection of senior members the PPP/C Administration to known drug barons and others engaged in drug and other criminal activities, coupled with their reluctance to aggressively tackle the growing menace of drug trafficking and money laundering, Guyanese now suffer the indignity of having the sordid title of narco-state applied to Guyana.
In a recently published study “Revisiting the Underground Economy in Guyana 2001-2008”, Professor Clive Thomas has estimated that that economy has averaged approximately 60% US$260-280Mn of the official GDP US$1.782Bn, for the period 2001-2008. He has also indicated, in that study, “the rise and influence of organized crime (linked to the narcotics trade, money laundering, and trafficking in persons (TIP) in the parallel underground activities”.
A Partnership for National Unity (A.P.N.U) condemns the PPP/C Administration for creating the conditions which have resulted in this legacy of shame. The leaked cables reveal that the PPP/C, under the Jagdeo Administration, has exhibited a marked unwillingness to cooperate with our friends and major donors to prevent our nation from descending into the firm grasp of the drug lords. As the leaked cables reveal, it was not until the politicians of the PPP/C felt that their own lives were threatened or that they might have lost control over the drug lords did they appear concerned. Sadly, as we know from the leaked cables, once the threat to their own lives had passed, the PPP/C continued to refuse the assistance of countries that could help us to rid ourselves of the drug menace.
As A.P.N.U has pointed out, the PPP/C is concerned about the protection of the riches acquired by its corrupt elite gang and not about the Guyanese people as a whole. We continue to observe unfettered corrupt procurement practices, links to convicted drug dealers, connections to persons indicted for fraud and the continuing denial that there is the trafficking of Guyanese girls and women.
Efforts are not being made to rectify the conditions which permit criminals to corrupt ordinary citizens. The PPP/C admitted, in the 2011 Budget speech, that they are aware that the per capita income of many households (about 20 percent of workers) was less than US$2 per day. We see no signs of change in the conditions which permit this dismal situation to continue to leave Guyanese at the mercy of drug lords and their PPP/C facilitators.
It should be clear to all that, from its conduct over the past 19 years, this pattern of behavior by the PPP/C will continue if they were to be re-elected to office again. After all, Mr. Donald Ramotar has expressly said that he will continue the policies of the current administration. We can expect the same denials and refusals that put our women and children at risk and provide an enabling environment for narco-criminals to thrive.
Guyana will continue to remain a pariah-state to honest investors and, therefore, continue to lose skills, and have families separated and susceptible to the exploitation of their vulnerabilities. Our market economy will remain under threat. With this type of threat hanging over our country, the foreign investors who can help us to create good paying jobs will not come.
Under an A.P.N.U-led administration, in a Government of National Unity, the safety and security of citizens will be a top priority. It is recognized that, in order to improve the conditions of life for all, it would be necessary to cleanse the institutions of the corruption created under the PPP/C. The Guyana Police Force will have to be reformed, restructured and strengthened. A dynamic and growing economy would be necessary to ensure the creation of good paying jobs and opportunities for self- employment.
A.P.N.U is committed to achieving those objectives and erasing the legacy of shame placed upon us by the degenerate Jagdeo PPP/C Administration.
THE PPP/C CREATED ADVERSITY IN AGRICULTURE
Over the past 19 years, the Guyana Government has been given generous assistance, by organizations like the FAO, IDB, IFAD, ICCA, IMF and the World Bank, to help in the improvement of agricultural production and position the country to realize its recognized agricultural potential.
In the context of the mandates of these organizations and the amounts of money they have made available, these organizations periodically undertake assessments of the performance of the recipient country to determine if their assistance is achieving the goals set for the country. A recent World Bank report on Guyana, which could be found online, confirms that agricultural production in the country has been experiencing severe difficulties.
The evidence suggests that, despite spending billions of dollars, agricultural output could be declining by as much as 5 percent per year. This disturbing trend in agricultural output was observed since 2008 and continues to the present time.
One glaring example of this problem is the dilemma of the sugar industry. Guyanese are increasingly becoming familiar with the crisis facing this vital industry. We have pointed out that Mr. Donald Ramotar, and the other PPP/C handpicked political cohorts on the GuySuCo Board of Directors, have in a few short years succeeded in virtually destroying an industry which has contributed immensely to the socio-economic development of this country. At one time, sugar was the mainstay of the Guyana economy. Output was as high as 342,000 tons per year and, like so many other sectors of the economy, the sugar industry was on the rise at the time the PNC handed the country over to the PPP/C in 1992.
The Jagdeo PPP/C told Guyanese that the problems which developed in the sugar industry, subsequent to 1992, would be fixed once the Skeldon Sugar Factory was in operation. This factory, which cost in excess of US$200Mn, was opened for business since 2009; it has not worked according to projections and Mr. Ramotar and the GuySuCo Board have no idea of how to objectively analyze the situation and formulate remedial action.
Dr. Cheddi Jagan took a very responsible approach to the sugar industry. However, the PPP is now being led by persons who lack the vision, judgment and moral fortitude to care sufficiently about this country and the wellbeing of fellow Guyanese. Instead of ensuring that the sugar industry flourishes for the benefit of the nation, the present PPP/C leadership has shown that they are interested only in self-aggrandizement and feathering their own nests.
Like so many other things, the sugar industry has suffered from the distractions, created by the rise of corruption and criminality, particularly the association with narco-trafficking and money laundering, and its near destruction epitomizes the incompetence and reckless behavior of the governing cabal. Most Guyanese recognize that the current leaders of the PPP have failed us miserably.
Yet, Mr. Ramotar, who has been so integral to the mismanagement of the sugar industry, now feels entitled to the opportunity to be President of this our dear land and, in so doing, continue to mismanage what is left of the economy. The PPP/C has done enough to destroy the sugar industry and diminish the lives of sugar and other workers and their families.
An A.P.N.U-led Administration will move speedily to fix the problems of the sugar industry. We, therefore, repeat our call for the early appointment of a Commission of Inquiry to fully investigate the state of affairs in the sugar industry and to formulate remedial actions that would be more beneficial than having the PPP/C continue their visionless tampering with the sugar industry.
Out of 21 major agricultural commodities, including fisheries, the production in 2010 was below that of 2000 in 15 of the target commodities. To put it simply: when our farmers go to their farms, do their hard work, and eventually reap their crops, collectively they bring home 72 percent less produce than they did in 2000. The situation is even more dismal for at least another 20 percent of our farmers, to the point where their production levels are so low that the Bank of Guyana sees no point in reporting what they produced. That is how dire our circumstances are in agriculture and if you think that we have recovered from the floods of 2005 and 2006, you now know that we have not even come close.
The production crisis persists in 2011.This is illustrated by the following examples taken from the Ministry of Agriculture’s Commodity Market Update. Plantain production is already down 40 percent compared to 2010. Bora is already down 48 percent. Pumpkin is down 59 percent. Hot pepper is down 61 percent. Watermelon is down 64 percent. Cucumber is down 76 percent. Boulanger is already down 77 percent. These production declines are matched by rising prices in the markets and hunger for many desperately poor families.
Amid all this privation, the PPP/C Administration shamelessly continues spouting unsubstantiated numbers about agricultural output and makes itself look comical when talking about how it can feed the Caribbean. Remember the Jagdeo Initiative of 2002? That has not gotten off the ground as yet!
A.P.N.U is aware of the challenges facing the agriculture sector and understands that our farmers need support from the start, during the crop/growing cycle, during harvesting and in marketing. We are aware that support services are not adequate or robust enough to meet the needs of our farmers.
A PARTNERSHIP FOR NATIONAL UNITY (A.P.N.U)
Thursday 1st September 2011