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Professor Dr. Shamir Ally said in the technological age, and with Guyana’s oil and gas resources, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government should direct spending in investing in the people first with an eye on ensuring equity.
Writing in his weekly column, today, Ally explored the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its relevance in technological era in helping workplace improve productivity of their employees and businesses and countries holding the competitive edge.
Pointing out efforts by big nations and association such as the United States, China, and the European Union in pushing ahead with AI, Ally stated “technology is crucial for Guyana’s economic, social, and cultural transformation.”
He has called for the involvement of more women and youth in the field with training, contracts and equity to the six races, proportionately.
Noting that more than half of Guyana’s population is women and youths, he said the “PPP/C Government should manage with PEOPLE FIRST with FREE education at the University of Guyana, cash transfers, health, housing, and wellbeing.”
The government continues to deny the constitutional right to free university education. On cash transfer, President Irfaan Ali last January said it is not feasible and his government will not pay it out. He arrived at the decision on apparent assumption people were asking for one million dollars to be paid to each person. According to Ali, he “cannot say like many others, let’s give everybody $1 million each.”
First of all, he said, it is nonsensical because we can’t afford it even at the highest point of oil revenues. “As a society, we have to debunk this type of fallacy otherwise, all of us will be part of building a future that is not sustainable.”
Professor Clive Thomas who made the proposal of cash transfer in 2018 said US$5000 (GY $1 million) per household yearly. In 2018, Thomas, speaking at an event in Buxton said “I believe that some portion of the net cash flow from oil should be dedicated and be given as cash transfers to every single household in this country. I don’t think giving cash transfers to persons are a waste of resources. If you look at the evidence, cash transfers are the single most effective means of combatting poverty.” Thomas is a renowned labour economist.
The national call remains that of Thomas’
Professor Ally stated it is important for government to engage in investments on education, cash transfer, health, housing and well-being first “then followed with the massive projects, with the extremely limited skills and materials available.”
He further noted former “Auditor General Dr. Anand Swatantra Goolsarran, ACCA, PhD., has written on the numerous PPP failed projects, with no major project earning a completion on time, within budget, and operating as expected, by the PPP Government in 26 years out of the last 31 years.”
Ally said “with billions of United States dollars in oil revenues racial tensions have multiplied, with many obstacles to over half of the population who continue to suffer from unfair treatment, inequality, and discrimination.” A World Bank October 2022 Fact Sheet had pointed out that in spite Guyana’s being among the world’s fastest growing economy poverty is increasing. Presently, based on the Bank’s report, half the population lives in poverty, with around 48 per cent of the population living on less that US$5.50 (GY $1100.00)
Last year Guyana earned US$1.1 Billion from oil revenue. This year the country is projected to earn US$$1.63 Billion.
Professor Ally also pointed to the “need for the Government to have conversations with Opposition parties for Dialogue, Discussions and Decisions for a better way forward towards One People, One Nation, One Destiny, with the use of TECHNOLOGY.”