– former President dubs it as ‘wasteful spending’
Government’s increased spending has not gone unnoticed, and one individual who has been fervently condemning this “spending splurge” says that President David Granger and his Ministers could only be best described as a cabal of bureaucratic capitalist elites.
Former President Donald Ramotar said this description best suited the current Administration allegedly, because it did not have businesses, but was using Government as a means of getting rich quickly. Ramotar said there were countless examples to point to over the coalition’s short stint so far in office.
“We saw from the very onset that this regime is more interested in giving themselves ‘the good life’. When they talk about the good life, they are not really interested in the ordinary people having a good life; this good life they see for themselves…,” he asserted.
Ramotar recalled that one of the first moves taken by the Government – which drew the attention of the Guyanese people – was to increase their own salaries by more than 50 per cent and also increase the number of Government ministries, which also assisted with driving up spending.
“The unproductive sector of the Government has been growing at leaps and bounds. So, a lot of these have been given. Travel allowance has gone up tremendously from US$25 per day to now US$300. And a lot of them are not accounting for this money when they go overseas,” he added.
The former Head of State is convinced that the Government is no doubt engaged in a massive “spending splurge”, which is increasing administrative costs. He said the issue has been compounded with Government placing a cap on Ministers’ housing allowance which has been increased to $500,000.
In criticising the recent revelation about the housing allowance, Ramotar said he saw this as another critical example of how the Government is going about spending money from the public’s purse, wildly and irresponsibly, on things that could have been avoided.
He said, “Now half a million dollars a month is a huge increase and it shows how they are using the State apparatus to enrich themselves in a very short period of time. They are amassing a vast amount of wealth in just two years. I think it is ridiculous the way everybody is going about just wasting Government’s money.”
Government has been renting a house from businessman/politician Peter Ramsaroop, for Minister within the Natural Resources Ministry, Simona Broomes, while another is being rented for Minister within the Communities Ministry, Valerie Sharpe-Patterson. Broomes’ apartment rent is $500,000 monthly.
The issue came to light after Ramsaroop sued the Minister, the Parliament and the Attorney General over her alleged failure to pay three months’ rent.
Ramsaroop’s Attorneys contended that the Parliament Office, on Broomes’ behalf, had entered into a tenancy agreement, whose duration was February 1, 2016 to February 1, 2017.
They further claimed that in breach of this agreement, Broomes gave 30 days written notice to terminate the tenancy on September 19, 2016 and thereafter vacated and delivered up possession of the premises on or around October 31, 2016. They, therefore, claim unpaid rent for November and December 2016 and January 2017, totalling US$7500.
Meanwhile, Ramotar also pointed to other cases where the Government has been engaged in what he described as wasteful spending. He recalled that Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Basil Williams allegedly refused to use the car he inherited from the previous Government and instead requested a new vehicle, which cost Government a substantial sum of cash.