We must greet APNU/AFC apologists with truth: Ask them about 2015 Manifesto promises that…

first_imgDear Editor,A perverted narrative has recently emerged to cloud the gross mismanagement of our economy by the PNC (now camouflage as the APNU-AFC collation) over the past four-plus years. This narrative, which is propagated by a group of PNC’s apologists, attempts to paint the 23 years of the PPP/C as the most unsuccessful period while projecting the past four-plus years as the most progressive in our post-colonial history. The irony is that this narrative is the complete opposite of the truth. As a researcher, I have a moral and professional responsibility to confront the distorted narrative with every piece of data that is publicly available.The facts about our economic development under the PPP/C are there for everyone to examine. Additionally, the success under the PPP/C during the period 1992-2015, ‘needs no academic gloss.’ The undeniable fact is that when the PPP/C took control of the country in 1992, Guyana was classified as one of the poorest in the Western Hemisphere, with more than 60 percent of the total population living below the poverty line. During the decade before the PPP/C assumed office, inflation averaged 28.9 percent during the period 1980-1990 and G$: US$ exchange rate depreciated from 2.50 in 1980 to 111.8 during 1990. The physical infrastructure of the country was in total disrepair, and the Guyanese couldn’t access essential items because of the shortage of foreign currency. The external debt represented 600 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1989. Indeed, the country was worst off in 1992 than when it gained independence (see study titled “Income Distribution, Inequality, and Poverty Reduction During Economic Reform in Guyana” by John Gaffar). The economy was in such bad shape that the PNC, which has grown accustomed to rigging elections, had to broker a deal with our international partners to have ‘free and fair elections’ while simultaneously embarking on a Structural Adjustment Programme.Over the period 1992-2015, our economic fortunes were reversed despite the turbulent global economic conditions and attempt by the PNC to make ungovernable with their ‘slow fyah’ and ‘more fyah’ campaign. The country reported two episodes of economic expansion 1990-1993 and 2006-2015 and the displayed greater resilience to external shocks with the diversification of its economic base. Inflation averaged less than 6 percent annually between 1992 and 2015 while the G$: US$ remained stable. By 2012 the external debt represented 48 percent of GDP. Because of the buoyancy in the economy and stable business environment created by sound macroeconomic management, the country attracted US$1,326.4 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) between 2006 and 2012. Most of the FDI went into new and emerging sectors such as transportation, telecommunication, manufacturing, and energy sectors. Credit to the private also witnessed concomitant growth.Extreme poverty was reduced from 29 percent in 1992 to 18.6 percent by 2006. Meanwhile, the Human Development Index and Gini coefficient showed significant improvements, with Guyana promoted to a medium human development country. Further, Guyana was praised for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (GDS) in the areas of nutrition and child health, eradication of poverty and hunger, and universal primary education. In summary, the country made significant economic and social progress.All of the policy dividends that accrued from the sound macroeconomic management practiced by the PPP/C are being eroded before our naked eyes because of this incompetent APNU-AFC government. Except for gold production, we have seen contractions in all the critical sectors due to excessive taxes and willful neglect. The lukewarm response to crime, coupled with the unwillingness of the government to respect the laws, contributed to massive capital flight as businesses searched for safer investment destinations. If we were to subtract the national ‘eye-sore’ often described as the ‘wood-ants’ stadium, Durban Park there is little for the coalition to be proud of. Indeed, everything the shameless APNU-AFC boast about today was bequeathed to them by the PPP/C. The production of oil they take credit for today would not have been possible without Janet Jagan. The G$9 billion collected from Norway is the fruit of another visionary leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, who was the brainchild of the Low Carbon Development Strategy. All the significant infrastructure (road projects, airport expansion) originated during the tenure of Bharrat Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar.As we approach the 2020 elections, the APNU-AFC apologists will continue to push there perverted narrative. However, we must greet these apologists with the truth and ask them about the 2015 Manifesto promises that were delivered by their party.Regards,Name and addresswithheldlast_img

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