Political differentiation of products: a divergence of ideology and political practice in Guyana?


Observation of how UNPA + AFC and PPP / C approach several key policies indicates an emerging political dichotomy in Guyana. With the exception of a few independent parties such as D’Aguiar’s United Force and the Alliance for Change, the historic PPP and PNC were essentially left-wing parties of varying flavors. More recently, the PPP / C – despite its Marxist-Leninist constitution and cognitive dissonance – is moving towards a pro-business and center-right party, while the PNCR seems to be moving, albeit somewhat timidly, towards the center. left. The WPA still has its Marxist overhang despite the open ethnic loyalty of some of its leaders. This promising development could potentially shift the quality of politics in the right direction, but the ever-present ethnic voting patterns could still cast sand in the wheels.

A clear dichotomy between PPP / C and APNU + AFC could offer independent voters a noticeable differentiation when it comes to addressing economic policies, as well as social and security challenges. Regardless of the political party, almost everyone agrees on the general systems and infrastructure that need to be put in place. For example, no self-respecting political leader disagrees with the idea of ​​having alternative bypass highways on the East Bank and the East Coast to address the degradation in quality of life resulting from traffic jams, as well as to bridge the Demerara River, increase electricity production and stop criminals. However, the way in which these concrete and more qualitative proposals are presented could signal clear differences between the two camps.

Allow me to present a first piece of evidence that points to the emergence of political differences. The PPP / C Jagdeoian is clearly a pro-business party. PPP / C openly brags about the number of corporate taxes it has reduced, receiving much praise from local private sector bodies. The first order of the policy is to benefit some domestic investors with the secondary understanding that there will be a trickle down to the workers. The key words here are: some domestic investors.

On the other hand, the PNCR is not necessarily anti-business, it just was not willing to get too close to the business community – a result which can be explained by at least five decades of ethnic socialization. of the PNC management. The PNCR is no fool, it is well aware that it cannot run a country without a vibrant business sector. As a result, in the tradition of a center-left political party, the budgets of the UNPA + AFC had higher taxation and cast a wider net. Private sector organizations – not all private companies – have opposed these taxes.

Higher taxes, tax cuts and pro-business concessions lead to redistribution. The UNPA + AFC redistributed higher incomes to middle and lower incomes, especially to pay for the growing civil service – because the logic of pro-ethnic strategic voting meant that the PNCR had to provide quick employment for its members. basement. This is one of the major problems that the PNCR will have to address because economic development requires a non-politically compromised civil service. On the other hand, PPP / C reduces corporate taxes – including by offering generous incentives – thus increasing the income share of those already well off and, in so doing, most likely worsening income inequalities. The concept of redistribution should present independent voters with a clear political product differentiation.

The PPP / C decided to focus on private hospitals, which will ultimately draw human and other resources from public resources. Some would say that the current government is also spending large sums on public hospitals. It’s true. However, the very fact that health care is moving in a privatized direction means that the elites and haves will no longer depend on public health care. The well-to-do will have private insurance that will undoubtedly pay for quality privatized health care. The less privileged – who lack the power and know-how to influence public policies – will be left behind with reduced services. In the United States, for example, those with health insurance get the best treatment – I would say the best in the world. Those without health insurance are kept in the poverty trap. Why should there be a different result in Guyana?

Privatized health care can only be equitable if there is a national health insurance risk pool. Moreover, private insurance companies can fill part of this gap, but they will still ration the sickest and most vulnerable because the sick are at higher risk – implying lower profits. Therefore, a national health insurance system is an excellent opportunity for product policy differentiation (PPD) between the two camps.

The current government does not have such plans because it views development as projects in which physical things are done. APNU + AFC and more, the PNCR has a legacy of the NIS on which to build. Jordanian budgets had brief nuggets to resurrect the NIS, which will need to happen first before considering an expansion into a national health insurance system. Therefore, if the PNCR (it can never win an election on its own!) And its coalition partners can explain how development is not only about building physical things, but also about establishing qualitative institutions that enhance human capacities and happiness, they will clearly present a PPD case for independent voters.

Additionally, we have seen a proliferation of for-profit schools and universities under the previous Jagdeo administration and this pattern continues today. The APNU + AFC has sought to increase the taxation of these schools. I must admit how I feel about this emergence: there are few ideas worse than a for-profit university or high school. I am, of course, not against private non-profit universities and schools. A university in a developing country like Guyana must provide the positive externalities and the many public goods. These are achieved by having research faculty and good students, as well as fundamental academic programs. Buzzword programs will not be enough! A for-profit university is never interested in funding research on the acquisition of basic knowledge which, in the initial period, seems to have no commercial application. Basic research is very important because all the gadgets, safe planes, medical treatments, the measurement of social and economic issues, great public management systems and the like, which we value and take for granted are derived from a spark. base that a curious person got in Do some research.

Unfortunately, the PNCR itself has not been able to outline a clear vision for the University of Guyana, a public institution. The Granger administration even fell into the free market trap forcing the university to seek more private gifts. However, this is a clear opportunity for PPD.

Here is another example: PPP / C views cash distributions with great suspicion. The party only uses cash grants under limited conditions pending political reward. This is the case with the Native American cash purse and aid to displaced sugar workers. The Granger administration itself was not too circumspect about the money distribution proposal; nonetheless, their independent intelligentsia was the loudest in its support. Mr Jordan recently noted that he would have put in place a more sustainable cash subsidy program from oil revenues. From their point of view, loud and highly privileged PPP / C supporters – many of whom have political access that determines economic returns in Guyana – quite despise cash subsidies from oil funds, claiming that politics will lead to laziness and laziness. dependence among the poor – who, moreover, do not have the same political privilege. Therefore, a clear opportunity for the PPD between the two sides.

Ultimately, a welfare state will demand higher taxes. The PNCR and its partners have been unable to explain what voters and the business community can expect in return. Will it be universal health? More physical security for businesses? Therefore, reduced cost on security guards? Happier and more productive workers for businesses? The last time I checked, labor productivity increased corporate profits. No litter in the streets? Should university students pay part of their tuition, or all?

In conclusion, as the PPP / C moves towards a fallout economy, it will have to explain how the outcome in Guyana will be better than the hollowed out middle class that the political framework has provoked in the richest country in the world: the United States. United. The PNCR will need to explain how it will overcome election rigging and the ethnically based historical mistrust of the business community as a whole.

Comments: tkhemraj@ncf.edu


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