By Dr Tara Singh
The relentless attack by PNCites on the Guyana PPPC government for allegations of perceived race discrimination is employment, contract awards, and in other areas of public life, is negatively affecting the country’s development and defacing the growth of a robust economy.
To rationalize critics’ position they draw upon fabricated information. In this process they have launched a booming misinformation industry. Facts and the truth have become the causality of the misinformation industry.
Only recently, one of the PNCR’s Chief Provocateur blasted the PPPC government for alleging discriminating against Afro-Guyanese in the award of state contracts. This allegation was rejected by the Minister in the Office of the President Hon Kwame McCoy as well as by the Prime Minister Hon l Brigadier Mark Phillips who was ignominiously referred to as a “house slave.” If any Afro-Guyanese speaks out against PNCRites’ malicious and wicked statements, they are lumped into the “house slave” category. The implication is that Indo-Guyanese have replaced Whites as slave masters. The PNCites are held captive by their defective imagination and corrugated mind set.
As stated elsewhere rhetorical flourishes (flow of platitudes and polemics) and verbal facility are no substitute for evidence or facts. An allegation without evidence is like a classroom without a teacher. Politicians can get away with mediocre positions but when an academic or one who fancies himself/herself as an ideologue, the least they could do it to apply logic, reason and evidence/facts.
In their insidious attempt to suppress evidence, which seems to be their enemy, they have developed a subculture that feeds onto lies, deception, rigging, and venality. The recent attempt at electoral heist post-election 2020 is living testimony to their cultural DNA. It has been transformed into their brand.
PNCRites say that state contracts are given out to the disadvantage of Afro-Guyanese. The reality is according to a government source is thar over 70% of state contracts have been awarded to Afro-Guyanese. What they are not awarded are the large contracts mainly because they do not bid and these are capital intensive and require skilled and professional workers as well as an array of heavy duty equipment which they could not command.
Even if they do have these resources, could they be able to compete with other vendors for state contracts that are awarded by NPTAB, which is not a government but an independent agency. If a contractor fails to get an award, the contractor has the right to appeal to the Public Procurement Commission (PPP) for review of the process. So far, there has been no case of bias report that has been lodged at the PPC. Notwithstanding, the press is bombarded with charges of race discrimination in the allocation of state contracts and other areas of public life.
What is the scope of validity, if any, of these charges? In the allocation of 6,000 house lots up to August 2022 over 50% were awarded to Afro-Guyanese. While an ethnic breakdown of the 37 housing schemes that reaches across the country are not available, the Afro-Guyanese are well represented.
I do not want to list the 10,000 + jobs that were given out to citizens and which represented a disproportionate number of Afro-Guyanese. It’s the first time in their lives that most of them have gotten a state job. Neither do I want to report that the University of Guyana’s academic staff are mostly Afro-Guyanese. Neither would I comment further on the massive imbalance of the public service, including the armed forces, the nursing and teaching professions. Just cast these high proportions against the level (29%) of Afro-Guyanese in the general population!
I will focus on another area of empowerment, that is, education. Of the first batch of 6,000 GOAL scholarships, over 39% were awarded to Afro-Guyanese compared with 40% Indo-Guyanese who constitute 39% of the country’s population.
Three of the most powerful tools of empowerment are land/house, education and jobs. And these are areas where the PPPC government has excelled as no other government before it. This reality is driving nightmares up the spines of critics and PNCRites. The cure for spinal pain is a few doses of the truth.
Guyana would be a much better country if only the opposition plays a constructive role befitting a Parliamentary opposition. A complete overhaul of their approach is inevitable.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the position or policy of the THE WEST INDIAN.