BUDGET BLUES – By Ralph Ramkarran

BUDGET BLUES – By Ralph Ramkarran

Posted on August 22, 2015 by  – Conversation Tree Blog
Ralph Ramkarran

Ralph Ramkarran

The population has learnt not to expect much that is edifying in the annual budget debates. This ritual by the political classes throws up with mundane regularity all that is wrong with our political culture. It gives them the opportunity to reinforce the principles that underlie that political culture so as to fuel it up for another year.

It also facilitates the deteriorating behaviour of parliamentarians in attempting to prevent each other from being heard. They must have tried the patience of Speaker Scotland, whose dignified management of the proceedings, and silence at a most insulting and patronizing reference as the ‘new kid on the block,’ were among the bright spots of the week.  

The nature of the allegations made by the opposition in relation to procedures in the National Assembly are identical to the allegations of the PNC/PNCR/PNCR-1-G/APNU, for one reason or another, when it was in opposition. If we go back further, the management of the business of the National Assembly from 1992 to 2001 was similar from 1964 to 1992. The opposition after 1992 did nothing to change the practices which they had tolerated before, if not engineered, maybe because they felt that they did not have the bona fides to do so.

On the subject of political culture, the political interference which it is has spawned has led to bad governance and has destroyed initiative and creativity in state administration in Guyana.  With this in mind I was surprised at the second public attempt to defend the very public termination and subsequent attempts to demonize Bharat Dindyal, the CEO of GPL, in the National Assembly.

The following were not denied: an attempt was made by a senior officer, without authority, to dismiss other senior staff; the attempt was objected to by the CEO who appointed a committee to investigate the allegations against the targeted staff; a further attempt was made by the senior officer, again without authority, to dismiss the senior employees before the investigation was complete, this time accompanied by one or more policemen to enforce the dismissals; the action of the senior officer had political support; the CEO objected loudly; his month to month contract was then immediately terminated.

The Government must be assumed to have known, as it alleged, that Mr. Dindyal was incompetent and overpaid. Yet he was not terminated in May, or June or July, even though he was a monthly employee clearly on his way out. He was terminated in mid-August only after he objected to political interference. This supports the conclusion that he was terminated at this time only because he challenged a political directive. The public nature of the dismissal and denigration were necessary to send the appropriate message to others.

The scourge of political interference in management is one of the most destructive aspects of bad governance about which APNU and the AFC have bitterly complained while in opposition. If the government does not start the process of eliminating it, its administrative machinery will remain indolent and unimaginative. If political interference continues, we will no doubt see more Dindyals. There will always be managers with independent instincts.

The opposition did not attend the National Assembly to offer ideas for the development of Guyana. They went to attack the government and to set the fighting tone to commence the campaign for victory at the next general elections. To be fair, this is what oppositions everywhere do. After this debate and walkout the government would be under no illusion about the promised opposition cooperation.

By its nature budget debates force governments, both past and present, into a constructive mode. They have to defend their achievements of the past, explain away their failures and promote policies of the future.  Oppositions in our system, however, past and present, having no responsibility for managing the affairs of the nation and no immediate governmental past to defend, utilize the opportunity mainly to castigate the government without the responsibility for offering any constructive solutions.

At this particular time, the situation is somewhat different because there has been a recent change of government.  On this occasion, therefore, the opposition sought, in part, to defend its record in government.  Since the last PPP government of 2011-2015 achieved absolutely nothing, the opposition has had to resort to defending the Jagdeo regimes. But there is little to defend. In a letter to SN (2015-08-18) Dr. Ramesh Gampat offered that from 1992-2015, after then Finance Minister Carl Greenidge negotiated the ERP, which was adopted by the PPP after the economy had been set on a firm footing, real growth was 2.7 percent. Dr. Gampat attributed the failure of Guyana to reach its true potential since independence to ethnic politics.

Notwithstanding that all serious analysts and activists, including some in the government, such as Clive Thomas and Rupert Roopnaraine, are aware that Guyana’s underdevelopment will continue until there is a political solution, the government appears disinclined to pursue it despite President Granger’s promise when President Carter visited. The absence of a political solution is the fault of the politicians not the people. The electorate called for it in 2011 by way of the election results. The PPP ignored the call and paid the price. APNU+AFC should heed that lesson.

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  • de castro  On 08/23/2015 at 4:51 am

    Interestingly honest synopsis by comrade RR.


    Guyana no exception/exemption.

    All parties concerned must work together to better serve their electorate
    who gave them the mandate to rule.
    The political cl😇ass makes the decisions that the business class must abide by
    comply with. However it is the business class that must influence their decisions.
    Government is “big business”.
    Usually the business class are way ahead of the government in policy formulating ….law changing/regulation etc etc.
    Therefore government must make decisions influenced by businesses.

    A cart before the horse scenario.

    Not visa versa.

    Cameron of UKPLC has the right idea…..how he implements it is governed by
    his “old grandees” in house of lords….a sleepy old bunch that governs uk….
    With HRH QE2 as head of state…..again unelected.
    But worshipped by her peoples and visited by most heads of state.
    The queen is an unelected head of state who is non political but not
    above the law or its making/enforcing.
    History teaches fools !
    Her ancestor Charles 1st claimed his power came from God.
    Cromwell claimed his power came from the people.
    The king lost his head…..literally….was beheaded.

    Little bit of English history for today’s English speaking Guyanese.

    To conclude my dear comrade.
    Give onto guyanese what is guyanese
    Onto God what is god’s.
    Politicians are elected by the people to serve the people.
    Not appointed by God.
    Any government is as good as its opposition.
    Guyana no exception.
    Gospel according to saint kamtan

  • Gigi  On 08/25/2015 at 8:46 pm

    Except the APNU/AFC coalition was NOT ELECTED by the people but rigged into power by the ABC countries with an Uncle Tom in control of the house slaves. It will be interesting to see how soon many of the new hires will be retrenched when this govt goes hat in hand begging for a loan from the North American troika. And part two of a three part plan. The vulture funds are coming! They vulture funds are coming! They have already picked Greece clean – buying up many of its islands and state owned institutions dirt cheap. Now they need more outlets to park their investments with the carnage unfolding on Wall Street.

    Guyana ought to start producing rice milk from all the rice rejected by Venezuela. It will be desperately needed real soon. It doesn’t taste too bad so there’s something to look forward to.

    Fascinating article on Counterpunch, one of the very few independent media establishments that posted this story about the conflict between Guyana and Venezuela initiated by the US to further destabilize and instigate regime change in Venezuela and several other Latin American countries for rejecting US hegemony and neoliberalism. Part two of the plan. The third part of the plan is control of the drug market to reap the profits from it.


  • Clyde Duncan  On 08/26/2015 at 4:06 am

    Trust Gigi to post that garbage from counterpunch – “In the meantime, Guyana continues to aggressively push forward with Exxon to pursue what could become the largest oil theft in the Americas,” writes Eva Golinger.

    For the record: Essequibo belongs to Guyana and will stay Guyanese. Perhaps, there is a dispute in Maduro’s delusional mind.

  • de castro  On 08/26/2015 at 8:24 am

    Don’t dislike Gigi spin although some may be OTT.

    MADURO reign is coming to its end..a drowning man will clutch at straws.
    Power corrupts and maduro a prime example.

    Now that cuba will soon become an american state…..with Puerto Rico or Hawaii status .…..right to vote…..maduro may be feeling quite isolated.
    However he is well received by most of latin american leaders….esp
    Dilma of brazil. She is also in trouble for political corruption.

    Hey a week month year loong time in politricks.

    Will the oil wealth benefit the common people of guyana ?
    Doubt it……best leave the oil where it is and negotiate on its find….
    700 m is a lot of oil but at 25 cents a barrel best left where it is.
    IMF WB loans at zero rates of interest….did not Brazil default on
    IMF WB loans twice inas many decades.

    Sorry strayed a bit but gigi is still my favourite “fighter”….
    If had to recruit an army it would be mostly women like gigi.
    Clinical killers.

    Have a pleasant day in BC ….its raining here in uk…..more rain in august
    than June/July combined….end sep back in Spain.


  • Thinker  On 08/26/2015 at 10:00 am

    Maduro will go long before socialist Cuba. Nonsense to talk of Cuba ever becoming an American state. What Gigi says has nothing to do with her being female. Analyse what she often says as opposed to just sexist condescension. Counterpunch chooses every opportunity to condemn US foreign policy. The Exxon discovery gives them another opportunity. Any precedent with regard to redefining borders has massive implications for the rest of Latin America. Bolivia is supposed to have access to the sea, etc.

  • de castro  On 08/26/2015 at 10:36 am

    Its OK taking the moral high ground in politics…I try to listen/read both sides
    before deciding which side I favour. However if I disagree sometimes I remain silent. Not wishing to offend either.
    I do enjoy some of bibi spin but not because I agree with them.

    Suggest you visit Cuba and talk to some of the common Cubans who have lived in Cuba under baptista then castro.
    Most of the Cubans I met living in uk share my concerns but doubt if Cubans
    Living in Cuba are really bothered…..only time will tell.
    Gigi sees things as a woman would. which sometimes differs from our
    male in perspective…..y and z cromozones an explanation
    Have asked many times why there are less women political/business

    My jury is out on the gigi issue.
    On cuba remain sceptic.

    Lets wait and see how “freedom” changes cubans.

    There are more Cubans in Miami than dissidents in Cuba today.
    The Clinton castro deal.
    Now Obama wishes to “convert” Cubans….or colonise Cuba.?

    David and Goliath reincarnate.

    • Thinker  On 08/27/2015 at 12:21 am

      The Cuban people are no different than the Eastern Europeans with regard to living under a dictatorship despîte whatever social benefits they presently enjoy. But they fear a rapid return of exiles who are former property owners and the creation of oligarchs as in Russia under Yelsin and Putin. So there will be gradual change. They are too prouud of their history to submit to Yankee domination again by becoming an American state.

      You may find Gigi entertaining, but what she says has very often serious implications for Guyana. It is better for all to deal with some issues upfront instead of seeing matters as taking sides.

      • De castro  On 08/27/2015 at 4:07 am

        Thanks for that commonsense approach to politricks.
        Cubans do have cause for concern. Hope you are correct.

        Gigi spill is at most times OTT but we must accommodate political dissidents also in our freedom of speech/expression democracies.

        Guyana is at its “embryonic” stage of development
        an uphill struggle indeed.

        Wars and battles are not won without a struggle.
        Write on……


  • Clyde Duncan  On 08/26/2015 at 8:15 pm

    Back to the Future – Any Guyanese who feels that they will be treated any differently in Venezuela is delusional:


    • albert  On 08/27/2015 at 11:32 am

      Most Guyanese have not seen Venezuela. Caracas is fairly okay, even though there are children all over begging tourists. Outside of Caracas there are miles on miles of barrios (ghettos) in the hills. Slum pack houses on each other. It make Guyana look like paradise. Guyanese better be aware.

  • de castro  On 08/26/2015 at 9:11 pm

    Nice one…MADuro is a rat cornered behaving eraticaly….🐀
    After “scapegoating” a few Columbians let’s hope he starts on his poor citizens in the barrios of Caracas. Its interesting to note how stupid politicians turn on minorities to booster their political standing. MADuro such.👑

    Did not Dilma send in the “gestapo” to “cleanse” the flavella’s in RIO. Now
    her actions are returning to haunt her…😈..chickens coming home.🐓🐔😈

    A week month year is a long time in politricks.

    Pictures tells a thousand stories.

    What was interesting to note was that “Columbian with Venezuelan wife” was a victim of the “cleansing”……

    Cannot wait to read Gigi spin in MADuro s defence.

    Politricks 😈😇


  • albert  On 08/27/2015 at 11:55 am

    Kamtan: “Cubans do have cause for concern”
    Perhaps your older bar room buddies who were kicked out. Polls and interviews show the younger Cuban generation are very supportive of the new Cuban/American policies introduced by Obama. One Poll (dont know the source) show Obama as being more popular in Cuba than Castro. If nothing else the Cubans welcome American goods (agricultural/fastfood). The trade and travel restrictions have not been fully removed but travel by non-Cubans have increased from Miami. In fact Carnival cruise line already have cruises scheduled to Cuba. Cuba stand to benefit tremendously from tourism.

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