ELECTIONS are around the corner and it is during this season that many seek to resurrect their political life. Of course, these periodic, armchair experts and failed politicians will be making many critical evaluations of the past five years and will be promising to do so much should they themselves be given a ‘five year’ to govern this land, but in the end it is up to the Guyanese voting population to make a proper assessment of who or which political party is better equipped to take them forward and which party has a record of fulfilling promises. On this note I will outline a few ongoing efforts as well as promises fulfilled by the PPP/C since they came into office
1. It is under the PPP/C that Guyana attained the rank of one of the fastest developing countries in the Education Index of the United Nations Human Development Report. Equitable access to free education from nursery through secondary is a major reason for Guyana’s estimated literacy rate of 96%, one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere during this time. The education sector continues to receive the largest chunk of the National Budget, with allocation this year being $24.3B, an increase of $2.5B. A US$5.1M Guyana Improvement Teacher Education Project was initiated, which further ensures that Guyana’s children receive the best possible education. 70 secondary schools are to be equipped with modern IT labs by September of this year and this will complement Guyana’s first learning channel, which was launched in April of this year.
2. It is under the PPP/C that budgetary allocations to the security sector increased from $13M in 1992 to $1.9B IN 2011. It is also under the rule of the PPP/C that the Citizen Security Programme, the aim of which is to create safer neighbourhoods, came into being. One component of this initiative saw the successful completion of the Comprehensive Training Programme in 2009 by 308 police officers. This programme equipped them with the requisite skills to train new recruits and other ranks in modern policing techniques. An Integrated Crime Information System(ICIS) for the force is also being developed, the design of which is to enable policy makers and law enforcement agencies to identify crime trends, examine their causes and devise objective solutions to combat them. The construction of a state-of-the-art Forensic Laboratory has already begun and this will complement other measures such as the installation of Close Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV) in and around the capital city, which is expected to enable prompt response by police patrol squads.
3. Ensuring that adequate healthcare is accessible to the entire population regardless of the location, though at times challenging, is yet another one of the fulfilled promises of the PPP/C. Residents in remote and outlying areas can now boast of having access to basic healthcare through the construction of health huts and health centres, as well as the placement of trained medical personnel to man these centres. There have been major improvements to the Georgetown Public Hospital, which now allows it to offer advanced services in many areas, including surgeries. Apart from highly trained medical practitioners being at the facility, groups of specialist doctors now visit the institution from time to time, carrying out surgeries, including kidney transplants and heart surgeries in the process. Health facilities were also constructed in Linden, Mabaruma, Lethem, New Amsterdam, Diamond East Bank Demerara , Port Mourant, Mahaicony, Leonora and Suddie, just to name a few.
Space and time constraints only allow me to delve into the three areas above; but there are more than enough out there for readers to get a view of the points being raised. While the ears and eyes of the Guyanese public are being bombarded with sensationalism and misrepresentation, development is taking place everywhere. This is evident when one visits any of the city’s streets or any of the many new housing schemes. All is not perfect, but there are those who, for reasons of selfishness, would want us to believe that nothing at all has been done. These bitter folks have their individual grouses and this is evident in their vitriolic and often outlandish pronouncements. While preaching ‘change’ etc they exhibit signs of the ‘them’ v/s ‘us’ mentality.
Written by LOUIS KILKENNY