AS we look to celebrate our 49th year of independence next year, this reminded me of the good times and prosperity Guyanese enjoyed prior to 1962 but then the riots started. It was just a short 19 years later under Burnham’s Dictatorship, that the World Bank and IMF declared Guyana a bankrupt state as poor as Haiti.
Let us examine the achievements under Burnham’s illegal regime. No electricity. As soon as night fall Burnham’s goons were out in full force dressed in military fatigues raiding people’s homes along the East Coast, West Coast, East Bank and West Bank corridor robbing them at gunpoint.
Wherever street corner meetings were held by the main Opposition party or any other minor party, his goons appeared in truck loads armed with sticks and bottles led by Rabbi Washington (real name David Hill, a known criminal in the United States) and beat everyone. We have just seen similar behaviour played out once again in Linden and Agricola which were organised by the APNU and the AFC in 2012 (with both parties now jointly representing a one-seat majority political Opposition).
The sewer system backed up, filth oozing out the manholes, trenches and canals in the city stunk with putrid water that created a haven for mosquitoes. Corruption was at an all-time high, hence a complete breakdown of law and order. I remembered waiting at the Transport and Harbours Department (THD) wharf for my shipment of casareep, the transport ship ‘The Lady North Coat’ ran out of diesel. On Burnham’s command by phone to Sprostons, a tugboat was sent out to the rescue. Burnham was the law!
Our entire railway system was sold out. This included two brand new engines that were presented as gifts from Ottawa, Canada to the state of Guyana on attaining our independence.
A colossal shame was brought on us when Jim Jones from the People’s Temple murdered 914 men, women and babies in our jungle.
Our airport facilities were in shambles and in a deplorable state. Two flights per week by B.W.I.A to ferry out the mass exodus of Guyanese migrating to foreign lands. This aircraft had to be refueled in Trinidad.
The dictatorship passed deliberate “show no mercy act” against our country by banning over 400 food items and medical supplies. The line ups were long for scarce food items even for sugar and rice, which were produced locally. Having a loaf of bread in your home was enough to land you in jail, while Burnham and his cronies enjoyed life abundance.
The astute and great narrator Burnham said in one of his many famous speeches and I quote: “Comrades, you better don’t get sick eh, they ain’t got no drugs and I ain’t bringing none in, if yuall get sick and go inside deh you ain’t coming back out alive and comrades I possess highly tempered steel and I give no quarter and I want none in return”. This was broadcasted simultaneously on both Radio Demerara and G.B.S radio stations. As faith would have it, LFS Burnham became ill, was admitted to “deh” Georgetown Hospital and did not make it out alive. This is poetic justice.
Rigging of elections continued even after Burnham’s demise by his successor Desmond Hoyte who grabbed 85% of the votes.
The deliverance of our great nation that possesses so much wealth came in October 1992 when the ‘Poverty Nakedness and Crime’ (PNC) was voted out from office.
Please note that Hamilton Green, David Granger, Robert Corbin, Carl Greenidge and Raphael Trotman are all dead beats from Burnham’s illegal regime and are now under the disguise of APNU and AFC. They must never be voted into office ever again! Keep them out at all cost!
It is your time now Berbice for development. This has just started and I urge all of you to come out and vote overwhelmingly for the PPP/Civic Government at the next general elections.
Today what do we have after nonstop and relentless lobbying of foreign Governments for free and fair elections by overseas Guyanese who must never be forgotten? The year 1992 came around when we had our first free and fair elections after three decades of Burnham’s PNC dictatorship. Let us examine the list of achievements since 1992 under the PPP elected Government.
** Free and Fair elections were brought back as law
** Revamping of our constitution and reinstating a number of democratic measures
** Working feverishly hard to stamp out and closing all loop holes on corruption, a PNC legacy
** Restoring electricity, water and our phone systems
** Refurbish and building over 100 new schools and 2 universities
** Over 14 new hospitals in all three counties with modern state of the art technologies
** A new floating bridge in Berbice
** A new and improved C.J. International Airport/Timehri and a new one to start constructions in 2013
** The new Ogle International Airport
** New laws passed protecting women’s and children’s rights
** Construction of a four lane highway along the East Bank corridor and continuous road improvements
** Regaining the rights to our gold mines after Desmond Hoyte (slow-fyah-more-fyah) sold us out to Omai, who in turn rewarded him with $1M per month until death
** A new state of the art and modern sugar factory at Skeldon
** A new medical management unit with medical and pharmaceutical needs for our entire nation.
** Solar systems for Amerindians as part of the fair and equitable treatment to enhance their lives
** Pumping stations of water, kokers, canals and drains to prevent flooding
** A 25 mile stretch of highway up to Mahaica along the old train tracks (Railway Embankment)
** New traffic lights in Georgetown
** Housing for over 100,000 Guyanese, new communities rising up
** The new Providence Stadium
** One Laptop computer per house hold free of cost; a boost to our education system via the new TV learning channel
** The new Takutu Bridge on the Guyana-Brazil border near Lethem
** Over 700 million US dollars sitting in our Central Bank and the list goes on and on
Finally, I am proud to say that, as the LIAT aircraft that I travelled in approached the Coast line of Georgetown coming in from Barbados, I looked down and was in awe at the amount of lights. For a moment Georgetown appeared to look like Puerto Rico; what a lovely sight.
Kudos to the PPP/Civic Government and special thanks to former President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo who has shown the political will to lead and I have no doubt that President Donald Ramotar will elevate our Guyana to the next level of continued progress.
The holocaust is never forgotten. Guyanese must never forget!