Aug 28, 2017 , https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.../28/which-worldview/
The opposition is gaining the upper hand on the government, it is contended, because the government does not have a worldview to frame its policies. The opposition’s narrative is gaining traction because of the absence of this worldview to frame government’s policies.
The government has a worldview. That view is contained in its Manifesto.
The government’s problem is three fold.
Firstly, it does not have, as was stated by David Hinds in a recent column in the Guyana Chronicle, public relations personnel who are politically grounded.
The APNU+AFC has more public relations staff than ever before in the history of governments in Guyana. The formal state apparatus is being bypassed in favor of the employment of persons within ministries.
Some Ministers even have their own camerapersons even though there is Government Information Agency (GINA) and the Department of Public Information which can provide the resources and coverage for Ministers.
The absence of politically grounded public relations persons, however, is deliberate and reflects the administration obsessions with control.
Government ministers believe that they know it all and they are best to determine public relations responses. They, therefore, want persons around to whom they can give orders rather than leaving the work to skilled professionals.
The irony is that when it is election time, the political parties revert to specialized experts rather than the public relations officers who are now employed within the various ministries.
Secondly, there is a disconnection between government policies and its worldview. The government is weak when it comes to the making of policies.
This is no clearer than within the Ministry of Finance where economic policies are at mismatch with the stated objectives of the government. We hear a lot about economic diversification but where are the policies which will promote this diversification. There are none.
The government came into office claiming that the economy, though growing, needs to grow at far faster rate than it is presently doing. But where are the pro-growth policies. None exist. What is being passed off as economic development is the crunching of numbers. There is a stated strategic focus as outlined in the Budget but the policies are not there to support this framework.
Another form of disconnection is happening. The left hand of the government is not always in sync with the right hand. The government is assigning the lands which were previously held by Barama is being given out to companies.
But are these companies going to add value one of the demands which the government placed on Bai Shan Lin. Are wood processing plants going to be established by those granted large concessions?
Barama had a plywood factory. Will the new existing concessionaires establish such a plant? Will there be a ban on the exportation of logs so as to encourage local value added? And what about the workers affected by the closure of Barama, are they being given any plots?
All the talk about a green economy is hot wind. Without the extractive sectors, Guyana’s economy will crumble. Instead of reducing logging, it is being increased. The economy is still dependent on the extractive sectors.
Thirdly and more importantly, the world view of the government is the same as the opposition. In other words, the government is trying to reverse the policies of the previous administration by pursuing the same approach to governance and economics.
The government’s worldview is the same as the PPPC. Both of them have a neo-liberal worldview. This is why it is hard to distinguish one set of polies from the other. The new government believes in a market economy. It is not a working class party.
This is why it is keen to close sugar estates. It is pursuing market responses to economic and social issues. Workers are not being paid a living wage because market considerations are paramount.
Land is expensive because to give out free land for housing will cause a depression within the property market. University education is no longer free because this is part of measures to reduce state subsidies.
The government is unable to defend itself effectively against criticism by the opposition not because it is not framing its policies in accordance with its world view. The fact of the matter is that its worldview is no different from that of the PPPC and therefore it will be unable to reverse the mistakes of the PPPC.