– Feliz Navidad companero Moses

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If you’re really into the year-end Christmas “syndrome”, this very brief budget 2017 commentary might be the column for you.

That’s because you’ll be busy with Christmas preparations and related activities either as consumer, employee or employer-businessperson. And I have very little new to contribute in the now aftermath, the virtual deluge of responses to the Minister’s economic plans for next year and beyond.

However, unashamedly, I shall quote from Ram and McRae’s Review which contains a significant non-budget conclusion with which I’m slowly but surely sharing. But first the actual Budget issues and their responses from a perspective of both tragi-comedy-humour and dead seriousness.

The Parliamentary Opposition are having a field day with doomsday, disparaging descriptions. “Draconian, stop-gap, unconscionable, hocus-pocus-budget, eye-pass-budget, brace-yuhself budget and death-announcement budget were just some of the more emotive and colourful usages to play on the minds of citizens who harboured reasonable expectations before Mr Jordan spoke two Mondays ago. (As a one-time propagandist I had also appreciated the then Opposition’s “Empty Rice Pots (ERP)” to describe President Hoyte’s Economic Recovery Programme (ERP).

Of course the 2017 Budgetary provisions are tailor-made for Opposition political posturing. Even the “modern” Guyanese fall victim to this Christian Season of celebration (Christmas). Needs – and wants – are numerous. This 2017 Budget obviously could not deliver. It was not meant to. So with no major increases or bonus for government workers; a looming foreign exchange challenge and no visible current or imminent investments, this taxation budget and its “threats” were/are easily exploitable.

 

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Taxation, the credibility contract

For it is a taxation budget. “Hidden”, indirect or not, new taxes will take their toll next year and beyond. Incidentally it was bordering on “eye-pass” for Jordan to “explain” that the power company (GPL) assured him that the majority of us do not pay more than $10,000 monthly, so that there shouldn’t be any outcry. Well the manufacturers, stores, restaurants, repair shops and clubs do pay much more than $10,000. Guess who will absorb increases for services, products and a mixed Lo-mein? (Same for water) and it was tactless to say that we were warned that to keep a campaign promise of reducing the Value-Added Tax (VAT) Mr Jordan had to find ways of “compensating” his Treasury.

Which bring me to my credibility/reputation comment derived from the Ram-McRae assessment.

I have to agree now that the APNU+AFC administration had put its hoped–for reputation and very credibility at risk – under threat of exploding, perhaps in their own faces.

And yes, I agree: after 18 months there are already misgivings about the behaviours and actions of some leading (APNU+AFC) players. Their internal salary increases; projects not-too-transparent; inaccessibility to their decision-makers; unlimited allowances for their travel and pensions for their faithful. All this has nothing to do with the wicked PPP. But gives that party easy ammunition. World Cup 2007, Carifesta 2008, now D’Urban Park 2016? See what I mean Mr President? Resign now from being Apologist-in-Chief! What’s wrong with disciplining your errant assistants?

 

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Oh, those fatherless homes…

Just an observation to promote a suggestion I’ve always fancied – getting to the ear and “reasoning” of those young males responsible for single-parent mothers.

I knew “father” from a distance myself. A grandmother and aunt tended me up to 13 to 16. Then it was on my own!

So I’ve been asking for a professional comprehensive reason for our hundreds (thousands?) of single-parent mothers. Even as I admire First Lady’s programmes to empower them and the newer teen mothers. When are we going to corral the baby fathers to guide and assist them to be fathers in every way required? Talk to Jamaica!

As the Christians and friends plunge into celebration of the Christ Child’s birth, let me remind those sperm-donor “fathers” that even the carpenter Joseph withstood taunts and tantalise, kept his fiancé, young Mary, and was a faithful father. Notice how Jesus turned out!?

Young man, be responsible this Christmas and beyond. Be there at home for mother and child.

 

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Feliz Navidad, Companero Moses

“Happy Christmas in Spanish comrade Prime Minister”. It was pure nostalgia for me to see pix of PM Moses Nagamootoo in Havana, Cuba for the cremation of Castro.

I recall seeing Moses in the PYO heydays of the PPP embrace of Fidel’s socialista revolution, actually looking, dressing like Fidel and Che’. Clement and his uniform should have been there too! At the Havana farewell.

Forbes Burnham intermittently pulled the Cuban communist carpet from under Cheddi’s feet but Moses and those early Fidelista fellows were steadfast in their admiration for Castro. Notwithstanding…

 

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Just ponder

.1)  Ever wonder why Bharrat never came down hard on Joe for going to China or dining with Winston overseas?

.2)  I agree: the assault on the corruption/cocaine funding and underground economy is impacting our national economy.

.3)  Dr Rupert should slow down soon. Both directorship and dehydration can take their toll – as we both journey to January 31.

.4)  Acquire that old Stabroek Co-op Bank building for a modern vendors mall. (No parking meters though!)

.5)  Coming soon: After 1992 why were Cheddi and Janet Jagan lukewarm towards Fidel? America? And what role can Amerindian Guyanese play in Kurukupari, Eteringbank, Puruni, Kamarang?

 

’Til next week!

(allanafenty@yahoo.com)