The recent statement by Finance Minister, Winston Jordon, that the country’s investment environment is being hampered by an unstable political environment is the most recent example.
It is clear that the intention here is to shift the blame for the absence of any significant investment since the last general and regional elections away from the government. It is also intended to bring the political opposition into the picture as being partly responsible for the problem.
The fact is that the Finance Minister and the government have not been able to put to the public any new initiative that will invigorate the sluggish economy.
The lack of investment must be put squarely on the shoulders of the government whose period in office so far has been characterized by blunder after blunder.
It is by its own action that the economy is slowing down. It is by its own action driving away investors.
The government has imposed many onerous taxes and other administrative red tapes on businesses. Many incentives to encourage investors which were introduced by the PPP/C administration have been removed or severely curtailed. Many of these relate to the manufacturing and productive sectors.
So to bring in the red herring of political (in)stability is only to detract from the real issues. And, even for argument sake the minister is correct; the obvious question needs to be answered: What is the government doing to deal with this political instability? One may even venture to ask: What is the nature of this political instability? Another logical question could be: Are the declared results at the last elections a cause of the instability?
The Minister is not keenly aware of the blunders that the government of which he is part is blundering every day. The Minister himself is blundering very often. Only recently he was put in his place for saying past UG students who defaulted on loan repayments will be barred from leaving the country.
The Minister must be able to recall that he is playing a big role in the instability thing. When he invited the PPP Opposition for budget talks he bluntly refused to provide even basic answers to some simple questions. That is not the way to bring stability.
Investors are not afraid of the PPP. The most important investments in Guyana, including ExxonMobil, were made possible because of the measures put in place by the PPP. The business community in Guyana knows that the PPP fully supports the provide sector as the engine of growth.
And investors have taken note of the statement by the PPP that it will support all progressive measures of the APNU/ AFC government and that it will defend all the positive development that have taken place over the last few decades.
That is an important policy position for any government by an opposition force. The government has shown no inclination to create any momentum for a unified approach to anything in the country.
The intensification of using military personnel in civilian governmental functions has shown that the President and his cabinet have no intention of pursuing any meaningful coming-together of the nationalist forces in Guyana. They have grabbed power for themselves. End of story.
They are not interested in any development strategy or investment strategy. They are bent on spending the loaded state coffers left by the PPP to give them the good life