‘Budget 2019 has nothing for the working class’ – Komal Chand

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Trade Unionist and Member of Parliament Komal Chand

Addressing the National Assembly as the 2019 Budget debates continued on Tuesday, People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Member of Parliament (MP), Komal Chand chastised Government for making no long term provisions for the working class people in Guyana.

According to Chand, the coalition Government or what he called the “Anti-working Class Administration” exposed its lack of concern in the budget for the working people of Guyana.

“Nothing for the workers, from the workers point of view, the budget has nothing for them to be happy about…not one section focused on workers’ rights and protection… the Government is exposing its lack of concern for the working people” Chand asserted.

Chand went on to note that the abandoned sugar workers received the harshest treatment under this Administration.

“Sugar workers received harshest of treatment, not even the Burnham sugar workers didn’t receive this kind of treatment, they didn’t give the sugar worker any increase since APNU took office… It is baffling to understand why the workers are treated so shabbily, this is plain eye pass by this anti working class administration” the Guyana Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU) head criticized.

Page 61 of the budget stated that the sugar sector has the potential to grow ultimately benefiting Guyana, as such Chand questioned why Government callously undermined the industry.

Further he expressed his sorrow for pensioners in Guyana who after calculations of the increase in the budget for them will receive some $32 dollars per day.

“Our pensioners warrant attention… I wonder whether this administration isn’t embarrassed to talk about the treatment of those entitled to those benefits…they have little regard for the elderly…the increase for them worked out to $32 per day… Is this all the biggest budget can afford?” Chand questioned.

Increase in taxation will see workers gaining $47 per day. According to the MP in his debate, this sum cannot even pay the minibus fare.

“I wish to remind the Government that in the AFC column appearing on May 3, 2015…it was said that if elected they will increase the personal income tax threshold…what happened to that? Right thinking Guyanese cannot support budget 2019…”

The MP also revealed that several million dollars have since been budgeted for the upcoming Golden Jubilee in the coming year, however no word has been given for the centennial of the trade union which is only months away.

This silence by the Government according to Chand says a “mouthful” about Government’s view of the working class.

According to the MP the confidence of the Guyanese people continue to disappear since they now cannot afford basic needs for sustenance.

“This 5th budget of the coalition continues to push our people backward rather than taking them forward and upward…confidence of Guyanese people have all but disappeared… page 19 of budget says that it wants every family being able to afford a healthy life style with basic needs of sustenance  where personal safety is paramount…these are indeed lofty aspirations but are we being taken there? We of the PPP/C are convinced that this is not the case… today’s reality is very different from the utopian picture the Government wishes to paint…they need to step out from their ivory towers to see how the people are failing” Chand stated.

Chand further stated that if properly utilised, this largest budget in Guyana’s history can do a lot for the heavily burdened people of this country, however the Opposition believes that this will not be the case.

He said “Our markets have more vendors than buyers…children walk to school as parents are unable to afford transportation, crime stalks the land and hardly is anyone feeling safe, hunger is knocking on many doors, bills cannot be paid, this is the sad reality of today…this budget could fix that however, we have no confidence that this will be the case”.

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