AUGUST 2, 2021, will mark the end of one year of the PPP/C in government and to say that the achievements are outstanding is a gross understatement. No one had expected that the PPP/C government would start its delivery immediately. This government has to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic; the rigging ‘epidemic’ of the PNC; the worst flooding ever and the Herculean task of reversing the socio-economic devastation and havoc which the coalition wreaked on this nation for five long and arduous years. But it has reversed the effects of all these in just one year.
Of course, the PPP/C government has never failed this nation. Immediately upon assuming office, they took to the task at hand and began to accelerate the plan which was in place long before it assumed office on August 2020 and was outlined in their manifesto, unlike the coalition whose manifesto was not their ‘plan,’ but just a campaign gimmick to fool the people. Unlike the coalition, this government has embarked on economic and social programmes which have benefited every region and community. There is no differentiation between who voted for you or not for you and no one can claim discrimination on any basis, be it race or religion. The President has kept the vow at his inauguration that he will govern for all Guyanese.
Indeed it will take a rather long dissertation to capture each and every achievement, so I will confine myself to a few. The government knew that to stimulate the economy there must be an immediate measure to put money into the hands of the people and therefore not only did it cut taxes and remove VAT from essential, items but also gave a cash stimulus in the form of the COVID grant. This resulted in billions being spent in the economy, which, when the multiplier effect is considered, will create a ripple effect. The Ministry of Local Government must be lauded for this great initiative and its distribution to every household. In addition to each household, GuySuCo workers, medical professionals, and the Joint Services benefited twice from the cash grant — a total of 60,000 persons. In total, $20 billion dollars was placed into the pockets of the people and this created an instant stimulus to a dying economy. We should recall that all the coalition did at the inception was to give themselves humongous salary increases ranging from 50 to 100 per cent as an incentive not to steal. But “thief” they did, on a grand and unprecedented scale.
The education sector saw the rolling out of the $3.2 billion ‘Because We Care’(BWC) cash grants which again put monies into the hands of parents to assist with their children’s education. The multiplier effect will again boost the economy manifold and happiness was seen on all the parents’ faces. On the other hand, Granger’s Bs had benefited only the coalition support base. The BWC has benefited each and every child in Guyana who attends school. This will increase each year to $50,000 per child by 2025. In addition, the Guyana Online Scholarship programme is already set on course to deliver the 20,000 online scholarships as promised. This is in addition to increasing technical and vocational training and apprenticeship schemes.
The Ministry of Public Works has invested heavily in infrastructures and the landscape which had deteriorated under the coalition across the country is progressing at a rapid pace. This ministry had suffered massive corruption under the previous administration; imagine an ailing entity giving a $500,000 gold bracelet birthday present to a then sitting minister!
The Ministry of Housing has also been moving rapidly in making 50,000 house lots available to Guyanese, as housing schemes are being opened across the various regions. How many house lots did the coalition gave in its five-year term? They gave 360 house lots! This government gave 400 in Linden in one day and in less than a year has distributed nearly 5,000. Getting a house lot is not a nightmare anymore.
The Ministry of Health must be congratulated for the manner in which it has handled the COVID-19 pandemic. It completed the infectious disease facility at Liliendaal in just a few months and has embarked on a massive vaccination drive to achieve ‘herd immunity.’ It must be recalled that the coalition stole hundreds of millions from the Liliendaal facility whilst Guyanese were dying from the disease. They had only one focus and that was to rig the 2020 elections and stay in power to continue its thieving and squandermania.
The Ministry of Natural Resources has seen massive improvements with oil leading the sector. In fact, crude-oil production increased by 82.4 per cent and has now earned nearly US$500 million. All the sub-sectors which were dying under the coalition are now improving rapidly. Under the coalition, it was a mystery to know what had happened to the US$18 million signing bonus. It makes us wonder what would have happened to the U.S. millions now being earned. The gas-to-shore project will ensure that our economy continues to benefit from oil and gas.
The Ministry of Agriculture has ensured and guaranteed that Guyana does not become victim to the oil curse. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, this sector has continued to grow at a rapid pace. In March, despite adverse weather conditions, rice output increased by 79.9 per cent, fish and shrimp by 9.2 per cent and even sugar which was actually destroyed by the coalition has shown a growth of 0.5 per cent. The government has delivered on its promise to reopen the closed estates and the Rose Hall estate has already employed nearly 700 persons and will be grinding in the second crop next year. The entire Canje and surrounding areas are once again coming to life economically. The other estates are already embarking on the reopening process. This again is a promise delivered.
This sector faced the worst challenge. The flooding was deemed a national disaster and crops were completely wiped out throughout the country as thousands of hectares of agricultural lands and entire communities became inundated. But this disaster brought out only the best of this government and its ministers. Moreover, the Minister of Agriculture toiled endlessly and without any respite to ensure that the crisis is brought under control. Again, the government has made a cash-compensation commitment of more than $7 billion to everyone affected by the flood, in addition to a $10 billion supplementary budget to repair the fallout from the flood. It’s anyone’s guess what the coalition would have done; it would have been just another avenue to steal and squander.
There are so many achievements that it is impossible to mention them here. Congratulations to this government! No doubt the President, the Vice-President and his team have done wonders at this juncture when our country has been so hard hit by not only the flood and the pandemic, but by an opposition which continues to lie and deceive the people.
We must beware of what happened in 2015 when the Goebbels strategy was used to perfection. The chief propagandist for the Nazi party, Joseph Goebbels, had said that, ‘If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.’