Foraging for food in the land of plenty

Guyanese Poet Martin Carter wrote decades ago, ‘This is the dark time’. It was art imitating life, yet words with real meaning today as there are whispers that Guyana, with its nascent Oil & Gas economy, is afflicted mortally by the dreaded ‘Resource Curse’. The internet informs us that this is the paradox of plenty or the poverty paradox. ‘It is the phenomenon of countries with an abundance of natural resources (such as fossil fuels and certain minerals) having less economic growth, less democracy, or worse development outcomes than countries with fewer natural resources.’

The current confluence of events – the absolutely poor governance of the PPP regime, global supply chain issues and the Russian war against Ukraine – are bringing waves of hopelessness and despair washing across various communities in Guyana, crushing the spirit of a once jubilant, progressive people; many of their communities were already at a disadvantage given huge economic disparities which abound.
Fact: The economy performing poorly under PPP

The PPP regime recently announced a huge hike in fuel prices. Just after that news, the National Milling Company of Guyana Inc. (NAMILCO) announced a hike in the price of flour. Guyanese already bore a 14% increase in basic foot items, according to the 2021 mid-year economic reports. There was also an inflation rate pegged at 5.6% at that time. Economist and Shadow Finance Minister Juretha Fernandes predicts it will hit 11% by the end of 2022.

The freefall of the Guyanese economy would explain the recent sad scenes of Warraus in Mabaruma, Region 1 – Barima Waini, foraging at a garbage site for whatever could be salvaged for consumption, in the year of the country’s “Biggest Budget Ever”. On the same day this was making waves on Social Media, taxi drivers on the Corentyne in Berbice were picketing to increase the price of fares and rice farmers were protesting the decrease in paddy price from local millers.

Former King: Sugar production revised downwards
Coupled with this, Blairmont Estates sugar workers just last week were demonstrating, as well, over monies owed. Workers said things are increasing daily and there is little money to go around. Additionally, members of the Guyana People’s Militia told our publications they have not been paid for months. For many, like the Warraus people, this is indeed a dark time; with no certainty of what lies ahead.
More, In The Ring!