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GT: 'It's about the economy, stupid!'

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    DECISION 2006 (Part 2): It s about the economy, stupid! By Emile Mervin 22.JAN.06 Far from being impolite as the headline suggests at first glance, the quote
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2006
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      DECISION 2006 (Part 2): 'It's about the economy, stupid!'
      By Emile Mervin 22.JAN.06

      Far from being impolite as the headline suggests at first glance, the quote actually was a catch phrase coined during the Bill Clinton presidential campaign of 1992.

      At that time, then President George Bush, Sr. was still basking in the after glow of a well-prosecuted Gulf War, with his favourability rating topping 60 percent. However, at that time, America was also experiencing the tail end of a mild economic recession that affected employment levels, and the Clinton camp refused to buy into the incumbent's favourability factor due to a successful war by screaming at the Bush camp, "It's about the economy, stupid!"

      Almost fourteen years later, and about six thousand miles south, in a country called Guyana, the rallying cry after almost 40 years of political independence, but more specifically almost 14 years after the PPPC first returned to power, the rallying cry is no longer about the lack of democracy under the PNC or the wrongs the PNC did; instead, "It's about the economy, stupid!"

      "Stupid" here is not intended to denigrate as much as it is to differentiate between a commonsense approach and a foolish approach to governance in Guyana. To say that the PPPC's approach leaves a lot to be desired is to put it mildly; but when one takes a hard look at Guyana and Guyanese, what the PPPC is doing flies in the face of all logic and everything sensible. It is downright stupid!

      And because the PPPC 'appears' to be run by a 'collective leadership' grouping, then the 'collective leadership' has to be blamed for this high level of crass stupidity called communism. If Forbes Burnham's PNC encouraged party paramountcy over the entire country, then the Janet Jagan/Bharrat Jagdeo PPPC is encouraging ideological paramountcy over urgent needs of the economy.

      The economy needs a major jump-start, but the PPPC is too preoccupied with consolidating its position in power so it can work its communist program into the political, social and economic fabric of the nation. The ruling party could not be bothered that the people have lost confidence in government as an institution, as long as the people don't do anything to jeopardize the party's grip on power.

      Whatever political power the government is wielding should be translated into economic empowerment of the people, and this is not happening. In fact, it has not really been happening for the people since May 26, 1966.

      Going back to the date we attained political independence, can we recall or list all the major foreign investments that were done in Guyana that led to an economic boon and a corresponding substantial rise in employment rates?

      When the Burnham PNC nationalised the bauxite company in Linden in 1971, and took the country down the socialist route in 1974, it was the beginning of the end of major foreign investments with substantial returns as we know them.

      While there are many lessons from the Burnham socialist experiment that should tell any Guyanese politician that this is not a road to take again, don't tell that to the 'doomed-to-repeat-mistakes-of-the-past' collective leaders of the PPPC; they think they know a better way to walk this same unproductive road, and their 'success story' of the past 13 years is what they are using to try and convince the country they are right on track. The worst form of deception is self-deception.

      Now what on earth drives this obsessive-compulsive commitment to the left-wing ideology in Guyana, first by Cheddi Jagan in the fifties and early sixties, then Forbes Burnham in the seventies and eighties, and now the PPPC, starting with Cheddi Jagan in the nineties and followed by team Janet Jagan/Bharrat Jagdeo? Is Guyana doomed to exist in a state of perpetual struggle all because of the tunnelled vision leadership in the ruling party that is foisting their failed brand of ideology on the people? If it has not worked for Guyana since the fifties, what makes the PPPC think it will work now?

      Communism is supposed to be all about the equitable distribution of wealth, but if there is no generation of wealth, what is there to be distributed? And communism does not generate wealth; just look at the PNC for 28 years and the PPPC for the past 13 years! Hopefully, the PPPC’s concept of wealth distribution is not linked to annual pay increases to public servants, Christmas bonuses, payouts to flood victims or donations football clubs, else wise this is a new low for communism.

      With elections tentatively set for August, next, the ruling party is banking on its ethnic support base to deliver the votes needed for the party to continue its “stupid” communist approach to governance for the next five years, and that base will likely deliver if the emerging political alternatives do not get out their messages of hope to a deeply frustrated nation.

      No Guyanese, regardless of race, should sponsor failure, and communism has not only failed Guyanese, it has brought enormous pain and suffering on the land; a land that needs massive investments, but which first needs to be purged of antiquated politicians with archaic systems of governance that, in Guyana's case, have kept major investors at bay for the past 13 years.

      (If communist China is ever referenced as a communist-run state with free market tinkerings, let it be known China's success story, pretty much an exception rather than the rule, is coming on the backs of Chinese people working in sweat shop conditions that the International Labour Organization and human rights groups would go ballistic over if it were happening in any other developed nation. Still, even the hard-line leaders had to bend over backward in order to prevent China from breaking under economic pressure several years ago. What's wrong with Guyana's hard-line communist leaders?)

      Whoever coined the phrase, "Stupid is as stupid does," probably had no idea it could be applied to 21st century politicians with 19th century dreams that quickly turn into nightmares for undeserving citizens.

      To all Guyanese who deserve better given the potential in the land, this is your year of decision – to either continue the nightmare or start living your dreams! To all those Guyanese communist sympathisers in and outside of Guyana, it is no longer about a failed ideology; "It's about the economy, stupid!"

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