OPINION: The PNC’s 28 years while in office are solid: Jagdeo needs to look elsewhere for fiction

Last Updated on Wednesday, 8 May 2024, 17:49 by Writer

by Retired Rear Admiral Dr Gary Best

In a next opinion I will deal with Jagdeo, Ali and the PPP’s lies about the PNC being a racist party – a classical projection of a duo who thinks about race all the time. 

As promised, I will now address Jagdeo and the PPP’s fixation with the PNC’s performance while in office for twenty-eight years. At a PPP recent presser, Jagdeo launched another of his visceral attacks on the PNC. Therein, he blurted “… they [PNC] were in office for 28 years with very little to show at the end of the period.” Pure presumptuousness, to say the least. Nothing can be further from the truth to this lie perpetuated by the PPP. That such an attack on the PNC will come from Jagdeo, the same PNC that birthed him into public service and politics is beyond shameful. In fact, scholarships are nothing new to Guyanese. Such an attack speaks volumes of a man fixated on erasing his past and manufacturing his present and future. Sadly, for him, a past to which he’s forever tied. ‘Step up’ VP. Show gratitude! Show contrition. And the PNC will not be a haunt to you. 

Whether it is the number of PNC years that haunts Jagdeo and the PPP or the magnitude of the PNC’s success, or both, is a matter for the general public – a public that is losing confidence in the PPP as each day passes. To reiterate, the PNC’s 28 years in office are solid. The success of the PNC during those years are too numerous to mention. So, I’ll only deal with a few and demonstrate how the PPP has threatened, weakened, and undermined the nation’s development under and post-PNC for personal gain to themselves, friends, and families.

Firstly, it was the PNC that led Guyana to independence in 1966. In fact, the PPP was so violent and anti-democratic that the international democratic community expressed serious concerns about a communist PPP leading Guyana into independence and the future. The Guyanese electorate did the rest which kept the PPP from government. The PNC then led Guyana to become a republic in 1970, finally cutting all ties as a colony. Of course, the PPP will push back with their usual ‘cry out’, that rigging kept the PNC in office. Well, just look at the recent outcome of the PPP’s congress elections and you will see master riggers at their best. How else can results be so perfect. So much for that ‘rigging’ lie! 

Secondly, and perhaps the most important act of the Burnham PNC government was its signing of the Geneva Agreement. An agreement that kept Guyana safe from Venezuela. Mind you, a decision that the PPP did not support! For the PNC, protection of Guyana’s borders and resources came first. That Geneva Agreement kept Venezuela at bay for decades until Venezuela and Maduro found and exploited weakness in the PPP. Instead of supporting the protection of Guyana’s borders, the PPP, when it assumed office in 1992, attacked that policy. Jagdeo and the PPP are on record as offering Venezuela part of Guyana’s territory so it can have an opening to the Atlantic, even as Venezuela continues to occupy Guyana’s half of the Ankoko border island. How unpatriotic! Next, the PPP began defunding the GDF, weakening one of Guyana’s essential pillars of defence diplomacy. You’d better run from this party. It is a danger to all Guyana.

Thirdly, hadn’t the PNC signed the Geneva Agreement,; Guyana would not have been able to go before the ICJ to have this matter finally resolved. In summary, it is the PNC’s action of signing the Geneva Agreement that provided the safe space for Exxon to harvest the vast oil resources offshore. How ironic is it that the PPP is now squandering the finances from oil investments to ‘share out’ cash grants (another term for vote buying) and spending 60% of the nation’s budget on infrastructure to transfer wealth, via contracts, to friends and families, while increasing income and assets inequalities among most Guyanese! PPP and patriotism. You’d better throw that through the window! 

Fourthly, it was the PNC government that established the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) – the equivalent to the United States social security system. This scheme benefits all Guyanese by providing financial support to citizens 60 years and above. That the PPP would threaten this system is unbelievable! Post 1992, the PPP used the financial resources of the NIS to fund the construction of the Berbice Bridge for the benefit of a private company. A state crime? A clear transfer of state assets to private citizens. How reprehensible! 

Fifthly, it was Guyana, as a founding nation of Caricom, under the PNC that lit that international flame of nationalism among Caricom Nations. Today, the PPP benefits from the PNC’s groundbreaking contribution to Caricom. Imagine, the PPP now prevents Haitians from entering Guyana! Sixthly, the PNC provided political and financial support to the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. In contrast, the PPP vehemently opposed the PNC’s decision to support this movement. Additionally, the PNC’s support for African liberation extended to nations such as Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Angola. To this illustrious list must be added the PNC’s contribution, as a lead nation, to the non-aligned movement. Again, the political record shows little support by the PPP for these PNC efforts from which they now benefit.

Seventhly, it was the PNC that embraced and supported the One China policy which the PPP recently attempted to damage by purporting to establish a Taiwanese consulate in Guyana. A decision that was quickly reversed after national condemnation. It was the PNC that established the first nationally owned bank. That bank was closed under the PPP. It was the PNC that established Guyana’s first and only agricultural bank. That bank was closed under the PPP. It was the PNC that established Guyana’s first and only mortgage bank. That bank was closed under the PPP. It was the PNC that developed and implemented a massive housing drive across the entire Guyana for the working-class citizens. This government styled ‘self-help’ housing project lifted tens of thousands of Guyanese families out of poverty. Today, under the PPP, those communities are underserved and starved of resources. 

Eighthly, while the PNC transitioned Guyana from a state-driven society to a market-based economy through the reengineering of state assets and cooperatives for the benefit to Guyanese, the PPP, post-1992, sold off State assets such as the Sanata Textile Mill and the Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation, among others, to its friends and families. Additionally, the PPP also began dismantling the cooperatives across Guyana, amidst allegations of land grabbing and land stealing to the benefit of their friends and families. Just imagine that today. state control is back in vogue under the PPP in the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. The PPP’s political philosophy of democratic centralism underpinned by domination and control is on total show. Just look at the hundreds of PPP flags around the country for its Party’s congress. At a time when there are no national/local government elections underway where the country’s public spaces are ceded to political parties for campaigning purposes. Its vulgar, to say the least. This is party paramountcy on full display. Nothing has changed. The PPP is still communist, masquerading as a democracy. 

Over the 28 years of PNC government, despite all types of sanctions and allegations of elections rigging, the PNC kept Guyana safe, while the PPP criticized and opposed every progressive move it made.

Only disaster awaits the PPP who depends on a man who knows nothing about everything. 

Dr Gary Best is a member of the Central Executive Committee of the opposition People’s National Congress.