Government should address concerns raised in media

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Dear Editor,
Reference is made to the state media (March 18) unjustifiably attacking the two genuinely independent newspapers KN & SN accusing them of being biased against the government when wrongdoings are exposed. How quickly sycophants and officials forget that KN and SN saved democracy in 2020. This attack on the independent press is the government’s gratitude for exposing electoral fraud that resulted in the PPP being catapulted to office. When the two newspapers exposed mal-governance and championed democracy during the term of the coalition, they were heroes. Now, the two newspapers are described as enemies of this government for exposing fraud, corruption, and broken promises. But the two newspapers have the support of the public.
Government should praise the papers for asking questions and probing bad policies. Guyanese of all political suasion are concerned about questionable policies exposed by the media. The public wants answers. Government should address concerns raised in the media.
There is reference (Mar 19) to a recently appointed diplomat being paid $896,000 a month over the last year as a consultant on sugar. Will this payment continue now that the diplomat is posted in Europe? How do sugar workers and GAWU view this huge monthly pay out when the average sugar worker does not take home $96,000 a month, much less $896,000? Commentaries also made mention of other consultants being paid similar figures per month over the last year to advise on sugar production. Can the government or line Minister say what services are rendered for these consultancies and whether this is how sugar will be turned around?

Between 2016 and 2020, the then opposition PPP lambasted the ruling coalition for using a large number of consultancies in sugar production and other areas at high costs. The ruling PPP is doing the same now. It is a continuation of bad policy.
Another article in the state mouthpiece (Mar 19) stated that Guyana will be the breadbasket of the Caribbean again. Guyana was never the breadbasket of the Caribbean and can’t be given current modus operandi. The concept of Guyana being the bread basket of Caribbean was created by Forbes Burnham, and as part of that trust Guyanese starved like never before as Prof Bertrand Ramcharan (Mar 19) pointed out. And agricultural production has been in decline over the last eight years with no turn around in sight. Prime agricultural land is being converted into housing. In addition, Guyana’s fertile lands are being given to foreigners in sordid deals. Small and poor food producers are being left on the wayside.
Missives also make reference to the purchase of pumps from prescribed contractors. Both the preceding and current government have let down the nation in contracting pumps. This led to serious flooding in annual heavy rains since 2016. The 2021 flooding was most disastrous. This government is yet to confirm or deny that its preferred supplier in Hollywood, Florida is a manufacturer of pumps as required by the tendered contract and not merely a retailer of pumps.
There is also reference to a Miami based diplomat tied to the approval of the Florida company as supplier of pumps being linked to land lease for hemp production. Is there a quid pro quo with land concession being granted for certification of the Hollywood company as supplier of pumps? Isn’t this a conflict of interest?
Can government comment on the above issues?
Yours truly,
Shazam Bacchus

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