Dec 01, 2017  Features / ColumnistsFreddie Kissoon

It was a mere thirty months ago, newsprint so voluminous that it cannot be counted, filled the independent dailies, exposing the secretive and surreptitious contracts the Jagdeo/Ramotar cabals signed with both foreign and local investors. If the AFC and PNC’s leaders ever composed a sermon while they were on the campaign trail, it was one on the invisible contracts between the PPP government and investors.
I was in the picket line outside of the Marriott construction site, next to many of our current Ministers, to protest the secrecy of the hotel deal with the Chinese. I remember I was in the picket line at the opening of the Marriott when the police manhandled Sherlina Nageer and Ronald Bulkan intervened. I wonder how Nageer feels about the performance of the Georgetown City Council and Bulkan’s role in the undemocratic governance of a Council that has surpassed any depravity we saw under then-Town Clerk, Carol Sooba, when the PPP was in power.
It only goes to show that the song Guyanese have been singing since the 1992 General Elections, contains these lyrics; “we had an exchange not a change.”
Just thirty months ago, Carol Sooba was a terrible Town Clerk that the opposition wanted to be removed. Just thirty months ago, President Jagdeo’s suspicious business covenants were denounced with tempestuous shouts by our energetic opposition. Just thirty months ago, we demanded the Berbice Bridge fare be reduced. Look what we have thirty months since May 2015.
We have petroleum legislation that carries imprisonment of three years and a fine of a million and a half dollars for disclosing information. Not only was Jagdeo laughing all the way to the bank when he read that, but he must have said to himself; “keep braying you fools.” It was the criticism of this kind of legislation that made the AFC and APNU successful in the 2011 and 2015 general elections. Now the very evil that caused the PPP to lose two successive general elections, these current fools in government are practicing.
These surreptitious, backroom, hush-hush conspiracies are ubiquitous since the new dispensation arrived in June 2015. So what’s different from the old regime? Take the new Demerara River bridge. The accountant firm, Ram & McRae said its request for information on the study of the bridge done by a Dutch firm has been denied. What does such type of governance remind you of? The Jagdeo dictatorship and the Ramotar autocracy. How the government arrived at the selection of the Dutch firm is yet to be made public. What does such type of governance remind you of?
freddie-kissoon-300x273What was the colossal shock the nation suffered after construction of the Berbice Bridge? The toll rose higher than the world’s largest building in Dubai. The nation has been informed that when the bridge is completed in Houston, the toll will even be higher than the Dubai structure. One may conclude that this government only criticized the old dispensation so it could acquire power. Once in office, it emulates the politics of Norman Bates. But there is a fascinating question under the surface – if it behaves like the PPP how does it intend to win another election? Unless….
Let us stick with the old harbour bridge and look at our new leadership. The old bridge was built in the mid-seventies. It has a walkway that connects West Bank and East Bank. You live at Versailles, you walk across the bridge at 6.30 pm with your spouse and taste a cane juice with an egg ball at M&M Snackette and at 7.30, with a voluptuous full moon, you and your spouse traverse the bridge back to Versailles.
The clowns, fools, misfits and morons we have in Guyana making decisions for the nation are scrapping the old structure, putting a new one at Houston, and there is no walkway for pedestrians. Don’t forget, this new construction will be in 2018. If I can remember, 2018 is in the 21st century, and forty years after President Burnham gave us a modern bridge at Peter’s Hall.
The intrigue lies in the comparison of ugliness. Which will be uglier: Jagdeo’s Berbice Bridge or Granger’s Houston Bridge? Go on the internet and look at bridges in the 21st century. You will see beautiful models, including one across the border with Suriname. Guyana is building a new one and there will be no walkway. I am guessing it will be as bare as Jagdeo’s in Berbice. But I guess such backwardness is what we are condemned to live with in this country unless you have the opportunity to get out.