Launching its Local Government Elections (LGE) campaign in Region seven, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), through its leader, said that Guyanese now have a greater understanding of, and appreciation for, the policy direction of the Party, while outlining that their 23 years in office saw massive economic growth and development across all regions in Guyana.
Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo told a large cheering crowd in the mining town on Sunday that “We changed this country without oil money, and we can change it faster and better.”
He spared no effort in criticising the coalition Administration for its tax policy. Jagdeo informed the gathering that the coalition collects $60 billion more in taxes than the PPP.
“That is why, when you go to the market or walk down this Avenue, things are so slow. So $60 billion that were in people’s pockets are now with Government, and they are using it on these useless things,” he explained, noting that no one is spared the Government’s increased taxes.
In pointing to an example where the increased taxation is being felt, Jagdeo said Region One (Barima-Waini) is a prime example, as that region is now paying $1.5 million more in taxes.
“We used to allow goods coming in from Brazil up to Kurupukari for free, because the cost of living is high for hinterland people… We did the same for goods coming from Venezuela. Now they (Government) gone to the borders to institute taxes,” he added.
The Opposition Leader told supporters that he was told by residents in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), especially those living in remote and riverine villages, that they have to pay an increased fee for licences of small boats. This amounts to some $40,000 per year.
Aside from the heavy taxes, Jagdeo argued that the Government is also involved in useless consumption and borrowing.
He explained that after 23 years in office, the PPP left the country in $1.2 billion in debt. The PPP is worried that after the term of this Government, this amount could be exceeded.
Jagdeo said, “It takes us right back to Burnhamhite era, where they borrowed in the 70s and 80s and left the country in ruins. They are hollowing out our country again. If we don’t get them out, this country is on its way to getting back to the past. We have to ensure we work hard not to allow that to happen,” he said.
Jagdeo said if the PPP is returned to office, they will reverse most of these taxes, so as to give people more disposable income and allow the economy to grow and flourish.
He also promised to reintroduce the environment and fiscal regime that was in place for mining, and which to a large extent lent support to miners. “We will ensure that will happen,” he added.
Over 3000 candidates have been put forward by the PPP to contest local elections in all 80 Local Authority Areas (LAAs). Besides the thousands of candidates, the General Secretary related that there were approximately 20,000 backers – demonstrative of the enormous task before the Party.
Jagdeo noted that 70 of the 71 areas were contested in 2016. According to him, this time around, some 80 areas were created through gerrymandering. But Jagdeo made it clear that, this time around, the PPP would contest every single area, including the areas that were newly created.