I refer to two articles published in the Guyana Chronicle and Stabroek News on Friday, August 10, 2018, under the respective captions – `No evidential basis for cash payouts – President Granger’ and `No evidence to support proposal for cash payouts from oil money – Granger’.
The Honourable President is quoted as saying in the Chronicle, “I have not considered that proposal, it is outside of the recommendations of the Sovereign Wealth Fund, the Natural Resources Fund and I don’t know that there is a precedent for it” and in the Stabroek News “No, I don’t know where the proposal came from but it hasn’t been formally submitted to me”. These two quotes taken singularly or together, speak volumes on how the President sees governance and politics and they have grave implications for the APNU, the APNU+AFC coalition government and the country.
The President’s public claim that he did not know where the proposal that each Guyanese household should be given a minimum of around US$5000 yearly from oil revenues originated from, is highly questionable since this matter was in the public domain for at least three days before he spoke. Are we to believe that our President is far removed from what the media carries as major news? The President’s response to the issue referred to calls into question the extent to which he treats with national issues, his responsibility to the nation and his cavalier and disrespectful treatment of his coalition partners in the APNU.
I wish at this time to address the President’s response to the more pertinent issues raised in the WPA’s proposals which were enunciated by Professor Clive Thomas. Mr. Granger, in stating his position said (a) there is “No evidential basis for cash payouts” and (b) “….it is outside of the recommendations of the Sovereign Wealth Fund, the Natural Resources Fund“. I want to pose the following questions to Mr. Granger – What evidence are you looking for? Is the evidence you seek to find existing internally or externally? In relation to internal evidence, his Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, is quoted as citing examples of cash transfers. Are the people of this nation being asked to believe that President David Granger is unaware there are a number of countries where cash transfers from oil and natural resources are made to citizens? Since I am of the opinion that the President is better informed than he is pretending I will not waste time in giving examples since comrade Granger is playing a dangerous political game on the matter of Sovereign Wealth Fund and the Natural Resources Fund. Is it the President and his government’s position that these two policy documents constitute the totality of ideas on the management of the developing oil and gas sector? And is the President saying that ideas outside of those that are documented, persons/organizations external to the government with independent ideas will not be considered? This seems to be the impression being conveyed by the President‘s remarks.
We don’t expect our President to be an expert on all matters. However, he has political advisers both formal and informal, who ought to be endowed with their expertise and knowledge to guide his judgement. Hopefully, they may help him realize the political fallout he faces if he holds to his present position of not supporting cash payouts to Guyanese households.
With the PNCR Congress a few days away the nation waits to see that party’s political wisdom – not in relation to who it chooses to be its Chairman, but if its membership and leadership understand the imminent danger facing the party if it doesn’t ensure that the government fall in line with the masses’ expectations and support Professor Clive Thomas’ and WPA’s call for Guyanese households to be given cash payouts from oil revenues.