…the GovernmentYour Eyewitness doesn’t have good memories of grading: in school, the teachers had their favourites who literally got “free passes”. These were the weasels who sucked up to them. Grading, then, has the challenge of facially neutral criteria versus subjectivity, in applying those criteria. So when evaluating Prezzie’s claim that his A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government deserves an “A” for their performance up to now and Opposition Leader Jagdeo’s retort he deserves an “F”, how do WE grade those grades?It all started when Prezzie was asked on his softball programme “The Public Interest” to grade his Administration. And that’s a problem right there: which mother’s gonna admit she has an ugly baby? Even when she has to tie a pork chop on her neck so that the dog would play with the kid!! This is Prezzie’s Government… what do you expect him to say? To be honest, your Eyewitness thought he’d say “good” or sum such nebulous rating. Like telling the ugly baby’s mother her child’s “interesting”!But when Prezzie awarded his “A”… he had to know he was asking for it. When he blamed “any fall backs” in performance to the departed PPP government, he conceded not everything was hunky-dory! And while there are obviously systemic continuities between any new government and its predecessor, surely Prezzie was going out on a limb here.So it was not surprising that Jagdeo promptly cut the limb out from under Prezzie and suggested he was living in some sort of “fantasy” land. And as we know, while fantasies can be satisfying to folks who wile away their days daydreaming, as the Opposition Leader pointed out, it can be a nightmare to the citizenry if a daydreaming president governs on the basis of his fantasies. But the “F”, he awarded, can arguably also be the result of subjective factors.What were the criteria he used? There was “business”. Now while the Government has stoutly denied this, the folks who should know – the business community – have confirmed the assessment that business stinks. To high heavens! By a concrete metric – the foreign direct investment has plummeted. So has foreign currency circulation – which pushed the exchange up, and the Government had to (scarily) intervene. Then there was crime – where contrary to the Government/Police “statistics”, citizens are huddling and shivering in their homes. And so it went…But when the matter had all but died down, up pops the AFC with a long shopping list purporting to show why the Government deserved its self-awarded “A”. But all it did was remind citizens they took more than they gave on Value Added Tax, old age pensions and the 15 other items mentioned!But then, the AFC has to prove that even dead meat has some value!…the private sectorBut the urge to grade the Government wasn’t confined to our top politicians and a lackey Coalition partner: the Private Sector Commission (PSC) just waded in. And that says a lot, doesn’t it? Why would even a sycophantic questioner ask Prezzie to grade his Government if he didn’t think something was amiss? The Opposition Leader may have a vested interest in painting the Government in a bad light – but the biggest private sector organisation?Business leaders aren’t noted for taking on governments of the day. Most of them “go along to get along” – especially when, as in underdeveloped countries like Guyana, the state generates such a large chunk of GDP. So, when the PSC declares a “loss of confidence” in the Government, things had to have hit rock-bottom. And any halfway-smart government would’ve listened!But not this PNC-led APNU/AFC. In a rabid, purple-prosed response, it claimed the PSC was “a political stool pigeon to repeat the propagandistic chatter of the Opposition”!!!Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad!!Caricom’s threatYour Eyewitness experienced a frisson of excitement when Caricom threatened “consequences” if their directives weren’t followed!Until he read the threat was to their own officials who weren’t MEETING as frequently as ordered!!
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