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The Editorial, “Natural Resource Fund Bill gravely deficient” of Stabroek News, December 28, 2021, shows scholarship and addresses the issue of how and who will dispense with the abundance of cash that is now and will in the future be available to the Government.
Equally worthy, are the several Editorials in Kaieteur News and Statements on Kaieteur Radio. The proposal to dismantle the twenty-two member Committee to oversee the Natural Resources Fund is the slaughter of a fragile democracy and makes absurd the pontification of the President of One Guyana.
I recommend that Editorials in the Stabroek News and earlier Editorials contained in Kaieteur News as compulsory reading materials, particularly by young Guyanese who will be the major victims of this obvious wanton use of money available to us by the Creator.
An examination of the proposed Committee suggests that only one member, that is, one named by the Opposition Leader will be the only person without direct allegiance to the governing Party. For example, the person named by the National Assembly will certainly be a Government nominee. It is no secret that the existing Private Sector Commission is the handmaiden of the PPP. With a divided Labour Union, it is reasonable to expect another psychophant of the governing group to be named and with the Government in control of most of the media places freedom, justice, democracy and decency is on the chopping block.
Beyond that, it ushers in for dismemberment of our society, the losing of an opportunity for healing wounds inflicted from inhumanity of slavery, the disrespect of Indentureship and the consequences of imperialism and colonialism. Those at Freedom House who glibly shout about freedom and whose writers still talk about born dictatorship must know that this move to be taken to Parliament this week is many times worse than the claim of a Burnham dictatorship alleged by these same people for several decades.
The articles referred to above should be reprinted and sold at a modest fee. I am sure many of us would buy several copies and have them circulated. This is a serious matter in circumstances where a truly by-partisan Committee should be able to ensure that the billions reaching our coffers are used to fulfill the dreams and aspirations of a previous Leader to provide free education from Kindergarten to University.
This should mean then, not the mere construction of buildings given to cronies, but the expansion of teacher-training, providing laboratories of every Secondary School, Playing Ground and the teaching of music and instruments and related cultural activities. It should include the establishment of a National Service, so that our youths from the Coast to the Rupununi could meet, learn and play together in a controlled environment.
Next, the billions available should be used to increase training of medical personnel and up-to-date health, clinics and hospitals, so that every Guyanese should not suffer or die because their families could not afford medical bills. A truly democratic Government shall have no difficulty with a truly broad-based committee to oversee and dispense the largesse of oil money.
The contention emerging from the Government side that the existing twenty-two member Natural Resources Committee is too cumbersome is flawed. That is the essence of democracy where the views of every sector needs to be taken into account. I urge the President to withdraw this nauseating proposal and refer it for a truly broader and wider consultation and take us out of the iron clutches of a dictatorship. Finally, I have and continue to submit that on the questions of (a) the border issue, (b) Covid- 19 and (c) Oil and gas.
The Government and Opposition should sit around the round-table and come up with a common strategy for the sake of this and succeeding generations. Any unilateral approach is doomed for failure and dismemberment of our society.