APNU/AFC suffering from “intellectual bankruptcy” – Teixeira

Gail Teixeira

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira, has blasted the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition for their failed leadership while in Government, and now in Opposition. She is contending that its leaders are suffering from intellectual bankruptcy, and are unable to see the big picture of Guyana’s development.

“I’ve been through a lot of the budgets in this house. I think I’ve reached 34 budgets so far, and since 2012, the APNU Opposition has become more and more irresponsible and reckless, and lacking in substance during these debates. There is no difference even when they were in Government, unfortunately,” she declared.

“Mr Speaker, we dare say that the listening public has been subjected to the vitriol of the APNU/AFC MPs (Members of Parliament), who appeared to be living and natured in a bubble of intellectual opportunism and naysay, and may I say, in some cases sheer intellectual bankruptcy.”

The minister made this remark on Wednesday during her contributions to the ongoing parliamentary debates on the $1.146 trillion Budget 2024, which was presented to the National Assembly last week under the theme: Staying the Course: Building Prosperity for All.

According to Teixeria, during their period in office, the Coalition Administration had no vision and no roadmap to move Guyana and its people forward. She pointed out that it was not a case where they were starved of funds, since the previous People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government had left money in public coffers in 2015.

“This is the height of incompetence and reckless and irresponsible leadership… They gave salary increases to the Public Servants and took it back with 200 taxes; took out $200,000 out of the pockets of each family of this country in each year that they were in office.

“They scrapped the cash grant programme [for school children]…”

“They spent over $1.4 trillion between 2015 and 2020, and there is nothing substantial to show for it. My conclusions are that the APNU/AFC and their mother party – the PNC (People’s National Congress) – have never gone through any catharsis to find their ideological and programmatical vision for Guyana. They have fed their supporters a diet, for over 50 years, of victimology, racial division, fear, and fiction and untruths… They continue on this path, and they’re convinced that they’re right. They will end up in the dustbin of political parties.”

The Governance Minister pointed out that Guyanese are eager for development. “People want to move forward. They don’t want to be dragged into the uninhabitable cauldron of toxicity. They want to get on with their lives; with a house, land, a car, [and] their kids can get a good education.”

On this note, Minister Teixeira said the PPP/Civic Government has chosen a ‘pro-poor’ and ‘no one left behind’ path for national development that will not only see the lives of Guyanese enhanced but also the physical transformation of the country. She posited that the PNC-led Opposition lacks such a vision.

“I’ve heard, in this house these last three days, ‘Why you building this physical infrastructure?’ ‘Why you spending so much on this?’ It is looking at things in an analytical mind, in a silo mind, and not understanding the big ‘pitcha’. You don’t get the big ‘pitcha’; you just don’t!”

The minister went on to blast the opposition for what she deemed as being “anti-development,” especially when the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) is at the helm of Government.

“I have wondered why the APNU+AFC couldn’t imagine our Guyana reaching such heights, and instead adamantly refused to be part of this vision and transformation process; but instead, they would try to undermine this process. Shortsightedly, they don’t want Guyana to be transformed into a developed nation under the PPP/C,” the minister emphasised.

She expressed that Guyanese always feel a sense of pride, dignity and hope upon hearing the administration’s yearly fiscal plans, noting that the substantial allocations for the health, education, and infrastructural sectors are all aimed at impacting the nation positively.

“The 2024 budget, [themed] ‘Staying the Course; Building Prosperity for All’, is visionary and speaks to a future that brings hope, pride, and dignity for all of us Guyanese.”

In budget 2024, more than $300 million has been budgeted for the continuation of work by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance. Through this ministry’s allocation, $100 million is budgeted for the advancement of works in the Integrity Commission, an important constitutional body.

The budget debates continue throughout the week, after which the National Assembly would be dissolved into the Committee of Supply to consider the estimates proposed under each ministry and agency.