Oct 16, 2017
I was on the picket line with Joe Harmon outside the Marriott Hotel. We were protesting the lack of employment of locals on the NICIL-funded project. He asked me where was Mark Benschop.
I told him Benschop has a one-man picket at the home of NICIL’s head, Winston Brassington because, he, Benschop felt that place should be the focus of the picket. I was also on the picket line with Ronald Bulkan protesting the official opening of the Marriot.
Bulkan is now a senior in the Cabinet. Joe Harmon is now one of the most powerful ministers in the administration. The talk on the street since May 2015 is that Harmon in the context of actual power as against legal authority is next to Granger. One endangers one’s credibility if one is going to state publicly that in practical terms, (maybe not in legal terms) the Prime Minister is next to the President.
I will assess the role of the Prime Minister in a forthcoming column. Suffice it to say, I do not see a legacy for Nagamootoo based on the present conjecture.
The Government of which Bulkan and Harmon are senior ministers has retained not only the functions of NICIL but the name itself. But how did the name NICIL travel under the Jagdeo/Ramotar presidencies? The answer is that it did not travel well and for one graphic reason; this newspaper relentlessly showed how NICIL was used in violation of the financial laws of this country as a vehicle for wild spending of central funds.
Why should the post-2015 government change the name? Because these things have negative symbols that you need to erase, since it invokes the sins of the past regime. If you keep the name, there will always be the fallout that when you were in opposition you chastised the institution because it was just propaganda you were sprouting.
What did the APNU+AFC leader have to lose with a clean break with the past by renaming NICIL? Is it possible that the opposition can sustain succor among its supporters by saying when we were in government, NICIL was the Anti-Christ, but look how they find NICIL useful now that they are in government?
The blunt reality is that all PPP leaders are saying this all over Guyana and it is pretty pyrotechnical at the bottom house meetings. I was told at one bottom house meeting, a certain former Minister made reference to NICIL and the travel cost for the new harbour bridge and exclaimed; “You see the devils we now have to deal with?
When we were in power these things were bad.” I was told he then said to the attendees; “Tell me; how come they ain’t bad now?” Those were the exact words, I was told he used. For me, it is a mystery why NICIL could not have been given another appellation.
You wake up each day and you see the mistakes of this government that catapults them right into the den of the opposition. Even if you want to move Sophia squatters, you do not do it that way. Why a carefully drafted plan of relocation was not worked out? Why move the vendors from the pavement by DEMICO, citing criminal behaviour and dirty surroundings as if these two types of negatives cannot be surmounted?
I will never forget, I mean never forget that on the ‘60 Minutes Programme’ I saw where in the uncivilised hours of the morning, the City Council washes the main streets of Paris. If you don’t believe me, please Google it. I am not against moving vendors and squatters for national infrastructural necessities; in all countries that is done. But Guyana is poor.
One Guyanese icon described Guyana as “piss poor.” When we act so cruelly against vendors and squatters we forget that we are devastating really, really poor people. When I saw that photograph of a woman and her children standing behind their demolished little home, I know my election campaign days are awaiting me.
I didn’t know until I read it that the editor of the PNC organ, New Nation is a public servant that works in the press section of the Office of the President.
The question is not the person’s integrity; he may be quite professional; it is whether such appearances should not be avoided because it conjures up very soiled images.
Why not get an editor to work at New Nation who is a self-employed professional or a private sector employee? In that case, you do not play into the hands of your detractors. Maybe APNU+AFC is on a self-destructive pathway.