Nagamootoo’s “Cadillac lifestyle in a donkey-cart economy”

first_imgDear Editor,Mere hours after Nagamootoo lambasted the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) for salary increases during their tenure in Government, headlines revealed yet another atrocity on the nation’s purse by Nagamootoo and the coalition regime.He has been granted tax exemptions on unlimited vehicles, in addition to the duty-free vehicle in his possession as a Member of Parliament (MP) and the multiplicity of benefits he receives as erstwhile Prime Minister and Vice President: So much for his pre-elections assurances to the electorate that his Government would not indulge in a “Cadillac lifestyle in a donkey-cart economy”.When the PPP/C accessed administrative office, the former People’s National Congress (PNC) Government had depleted the nation’s Treasury to zilch, run up internal and external debts that this and coming generations would have been paying to infinity if it had not been for former President, late Dr Cheddi Jagan and former Finance Minister and subsequent President, Bharrat Jagdeo’s unrelenting struggle for debt relief and prudent and astute management of the nation’s finances.For years the President and Ministers of successive PPP/C Aadministrations received what was tantamount to a mere stipend – a pittance much lower than that of the PNC-inherited. In 1995, President Jagan acceded to his Ministers’ requests for an increase in salary, bearing in mind that their duties engendered great expenses, including travel and related costs to effectively manage their respective mandates.The salary scale of PPP/C Ministers was then increased to one dollar above that of Permanent Secretaries.Desmond Hoyte, who is being praised for reversing the PNC’s draconian management practices during its governance of Guyana, had been forced by the International Financial Institutions (IFIs), in particular the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to re-institute a plethora of changes – including holding free-and-fair elections after decades of rigging, or face sanctions, which included, among others, withholding of financial assistance to a poverty-stricken nation bankrupted by the PNC regime. He had no choice but to assent to all the IMF punitive conditionalities, among which was the imposition of the much-touted Economic Recovery Programme (ERP).Now being lauded as a feather in Hoyte’s cap, the ERP was, in effect, a punitive menu of measures that created much suffering to the nation’s working-class, which dubbed the punitive fiscal regime of the ERP as ‘Empty Rice Pots’. One of the impositions of the ERP was freezing the wages of public servants at 00, to which Hoyte had acceded. All during the PNC’s dictatorial tenure the trade unions, except for the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU), had become toothless poodles that could not even yap.Upon accessing office, even as vulnerable as his government was to external financial forces, Dr Jagan figuratively told the IMF to put their conditionalities where the sun does not shine and immediately restored bargaining powers to the trade unions.Ever since then, to the date that the party demitted office, the PPP/C has ensured, depending on the dictates of the nation’s economic strength, that public servants received an annual increase in salary retroactive to the first month of the year, an annual bonus at year-end, and enhanced benefits.For someone who is benefiting from the fruits of the hard work and prudent management of the nation’s finances by PPP/C Presidents and Ministers, as Nagamootoo is, to begrudge the salary increases of PPP/C Presidents and Ministers is tantamount to spiteful vindictiveness and is absolute ingratitude because he, not the PPP/C Presidents and Ministers, started living a Cadillac lifestyle and became a ‘fat cat’ without lifting a finger to work for the Guyanese people.Nagamootoo’s tirade against the PPP/C anent salary increases was an attempt to deflect attention from the excesses that he and his confederates in the Granger-led Government are bestowing on themselves, relatives, friends and financiers – living the good life at the expense of the Guyanese working-class.More so, his figures were laughable and deliberately misrepresentative of Finance Minister Winston Jordan’s figures that he presented to Parliament.Unless one is mentally deficient, or deliberately obtuse the difference in governance by the PPP/C Administration and the coalition regime can be discerned by merely comparing the salary and simple lifestyle of PPP/C’s Prime Minister, the really honourable Samuel Hinds, to that of the coalition’s Prime Minister, whose excesses are unconscionable and utterly disgraceful because, as the PPP contends, the salary that Moses Nagamootoo is condemning the PPP Presidents and Ministers for was not enough for him and the members of the coalition Cabinet; hence their hefty pay increases immediately upon accessing office.Sincerely,Attiya Amanda Bakshlast_img read more