What can we as Guyanese predict for 2018?

2018 is upon us and this is the time of year where we sit and think about what the new year has in store for us. More money? Happier family, better job? Greener public buildings?

GTT has been asking me since November what will I do with a million dollars, and upon their suggestions I cannot help to ask back, how am I buying a brand-new house for my mother with one million dollars alone? Are we going back to logies? That is not even a down payment for a government condo.

The government would be quite happy if I took that million and invested it in a start-up business. That is, their solution to unemployment and the idling young population – entrepreneurship! Start your own business, they say, self-employment. Sell plantain chips!

This begs the question: If everybody is selling then who is really buying? It would be best if we go back to bartering.

No offence to the plantain chip vendors but I did not spend five years for a CSEC certificate and 4 years for a Degree to stand up in that hot hot sun to sell plantain chips. And “I” in this case is the 2,100 persons that recently graduated from the University of Guyana.

Plus, where will I sell if City Hall keeps moving these vendors around? A game of Musical stalls; chaos will erupt when the tune stops and everybody’s feet grows tired. All of 2017 has passed and City Hall has still neglected to solve the vendors query of a market place to accommodate them, Kitty Market is incomplete and Bourda becomes more and more congested. January 2018 will see the President walking into City Hall’s chambers and what an iconic image this will be in the year of Local Government Elections.

Yes, 2018 is also the year of our second Local Government Elections under the Granger administration and perhaps the last one before 2020 General elections. It can be seen that 2018 would be the “mid-term” elections for the government to place its toe in the scorching water we call the Guyanese nation.

Why scorching? I just mentioned the vendors are very upset and 2018 might be the year City Hall finally put its foot down and booth them off the curb. There is the matter of a bonus cheque Exxon-Mobil gave the ministers and Finance Minister puffed up like a 2015 “No apologies Harmon” and say he did not have to reveal anything. And then the confusion that came with it, the President said Cabinet knew about this cheque and approved this special account contrary to the comments from the Foreign Affairs Minister Greenidge who explained that only certain members of Cabinet knew. Which is it, all knew or some knew? The Senior Ministers cabinet or the Junior Ministers cabinet, I lost count, how many ministers we have again?

Maybe in 2018 this will be sorted out once and for all by the Ministry of the Multiple Ministries (officially called the Ministry of the Presidency).

There are other matters we want to see and matters that are a done-deal but should not be, like who is this man that just rise from behind the Palms? LGE 2018 will be a test of patience, competency, trust and character judgement from the new Chairman of the Elections Commission. The government needs to also look into the conduct and behavior of Parliamentarians. IT IS TIME to release the Code of Ethics for Government Ministers and Parliamentarians, among many other promises (like ending blackouts).

Parliament was an absolute mess inside and out, I am not sure which ruckus was worse. The unnecessary rerouting of traffic around the building causing massive roadblocks and congestion or the bull-fighting in the chambers? Will a Commission of Inquiry be called to ascertain  who really knock Priya?

Maybe 2018 is the year City Hall works on that bus park. They blamed PPP in the past for not green-lighting some land but I am not sure the President is going to walk in the chambers in January to request City Hall be painted in Green for the Green ‘Garden City’. This is their opportunity to raise major concerns.

2018 will see an infrastructural spark that we can only hope to see developed into 2020 Oil year and beyond. The Pedestrian overpasses over the EBD Highway would be fitted with their elevators and completed, completion of the CJIA airport project, foundations laid for the new Demerara Harbour Bridge and completion of the West Coast Demerara and possibly the East Coast Demerara road expansion works; there is the roundabout at Kitty and other projects that would finish and start in this year.

By the way, what happened to the Indian Immigration monument at Palmyra the Linden-friendship-I-got-contacts-in-the-right-places/made-up-company was contracted to build? They jumped on a boat and emigrated back to Linden?

The 2018 budget, though eradicating VAT on education (a big win for the people in this weird democracy of ours) is not very inspiring to the common man. Sure, miners get concessions, there are no new taxes or any raise, if anything leave taxes aren’t deducted but what money has the government put in our hands to spend? This is more greening being done, the entire year will be green guava season.

(I heard somewhere that green mango and genips may become the national fruits.)

2018 may very well be a slow year. I hope not as slow as to the publishing of the results of who killed Walter Rodney.

The No-Smoking ban in public places is in effect with little to no public awareness campaigns so expect a lot of surprised and upset people who will feel like their norms, rights and a part of their culture even is stripped away. Sugar workers, thousands of them will be jobless and where there is unemployment there is depression and crime.

On a lighter note, there is Guyana Carnival for the 150 or so elite Guyanese and another 100 will bankrupt themselves in May to be a part of the Genesis of a Caribbean-style Carnival for our nation’s Independence. I am excited to see what Guyana carnival will be like but little poor me will just watch providing that I am not charged to see.

Whatever this New Year may bring I truly hope it is a year of peace and prosperity for this nation of ours. I will not ask about your New Year’s resolutions because we all know by the third week of January we all throw that out the window and reality hits us that we are a lot poorer than we were in November and Courts will soon be knocking at our doors.

May 2018 bring you much joy and happiness!

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