By Rickford Burke
President of the Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy, Rickford Burke, Thursday accused the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) aligned Guyana Private Sector Commission (PSC) of being a PPP agent provocateur and enemy of the Guyanese people. Burke’s comments came in an interview with a Caribbean publication, in response to a PSC statement Wednesday claiming that international businesses are expressing reservations about investing in Guyana. The PSC also alleged that there has been a reduction in government and private business in Guyana, as a result of political uncertainty generated by the government’s challenge to the unlawful opposition PPP no confidence motion.
The motion was brought in the National Assembly on December 21, 2018, and declared passed by 33 to 32 votes in the 65 seat House. Guyana’s Chief Justice Roxanne George upheld the parliamentary vote.
However, on March 22, 2019 the Guyana Court of Appeal ruled that the vote was unconstitutional and tossed it out.
Burke contended that the PSC statement
was vacuous and singularly
intended to contradict President David Granger who earlier rebuffed similar comments by the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), whose members are slso part on the PSC. He said “The PSC’s reckless attempt to sabotage Guyana’s economy in its ongoing effort to undermine the ruling APNU+AFC coalition government is unpatriotic and treacherous. “All Guyanese must denounce this betrayal by the hustlers in the PSC, some of whom are beneficiaries of the PPP ethnocracy and criminal enterprise that ruled Guyana from 1992 to 2015,” he asserted.
The institute’s President it is scandalous for the PSC to bad-mouth Guyana’s economy without providing any statistics or empirical evidence. He charged that some PSC officials are entangled in conspiracy with the PPP to undermine confidence in the economy and bring down the government. Burke contended, however, that the facts disprove that PSC pernicious misinformation campaign.
The CGID head called on Guyanese and the international community to dismiss the PSC’s mendacious statements about the business climate in Guyana. Noting that the PSC is a coalition partner of the PPP, he said such statements must be judged in this context.
Burke emphasized that last month Guyana was declared the second fastest growing economy in the Caribbean region by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). He pointed out an announcement by Dr. Mark Bynoe, Director of the Guyana Energy Department, on March 25, 2019, that Guyana has benefited from $15.6 billion (US $75 million) in revenue from Exxon Mobil and other investors in the oil and gas sector. He also highlighted additional oil discoveries, establishment of more oil wells and continuing oil exploration that is intensifying in Guyana.
“What Guyanese see is rapid, large scale new private investments in preparation for oil production in 2020 at 900,000 barrels of oil a day. This will establish our country firmly as one of the leading oil producers in the hemisphere and the world. Guyana is on the threshold of becoming a modern, advanced country. Guyanese are optimistic about our country’s future. We are unmoved by the politically motivated hogwash being peddled by the PPP and PSC,”
the CGID head observed.
Burke said that “the PSC and the PPP are like blood suckers who are driven by greed and avarice. Their intent is to topple the democratically elected government to gain control of our nation’s oil revenues. Their intent is corrupt. The World Bank estimated that over US $5 billion were siphoned off from the treasury under the PPP government. Guyanese have seen their greed, corruption and overt criminality and are determined to defeat them at all cost.”
Burke also blasted the PSC’s call for the Caribbean Court of Justice to rapidly hear the PPP’s appeal of the Guyana Court of Appeal’s invalidation of the no confidence vote. “ This is an unwholesome attempt to interfere with and influence the judicial process. The oligarchs in the PSC, some of whom allegedly amassed great wealth through criminal enterprises, apparently believe that their wealth entitles them to openly challenge civil order in our country,” he further asserted.
The CGID head reiterated his call for the PSC to be dismantled, saying “the PSC is not a business organization. It is a partisan, political organization. Some of its members are believed to be involved in subversive, treasonous conspiracies against the State. CGID believes that the PSC should be broken up. Consequently, there is an effort underway by business entities that are opposed to PSC’s partisan PPP affiliation, to form another Private Sector body.