By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Former President, Bharrat Jagdeo has dissected the recently launched APNU+AFC manifesto, describing it as a “waste of time,” pointing out that it lacks imagination.
At a press conference held at Freedom House on Thursday, April 30, Jagdeo maintained that some of the policies outlined in the manifesto was copied from the ruling People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C).
In breaking down bits and pieces of the document, the former President explained that some of the coalition’s policies would “bankrupt” the country, noting that the APNU+AFC could not explain how they intend to create revenue streams if elected to office post May 11.
“You have to create wealth before you spend it. If you have not identified sources and new sources of the creation of national wealth and you keep spending more, you’re taking the country back to a period where we had all the difficulties. Because you will have to find a way of financing the expenditure and the only way you can do it is by debt and if you accumulate more debt, you’re taking our country backwards,” the former President said.
As it relates to Amerindian Development, Jagdeo criticized the APNU+AFC for now seeking to establish a Hinterland and Depressed Areas Fund, given the fact that the combined Opposition cut the $4.5 billion from the budget, which was allocated for Amerindians.
“Isn’t this an insult to people after they cut $4.5 billion from the Amerindian Development Fund and from the Community Development Plan? This money that we got through the Norwegian agreement was supposed to go fund the village development plans that each of those villages came up with themselves.
“They cut that money from the budget and now they’re promising a fund. We already have an Amerindian Development Fund. We have a huge programme for community development plan…It is an insult to Amerindian people,” Jagdeo said.
In relation to Housing, he pointed out that the coalition plans to introduce a ‘House Rental Initiative’, which he described as “shameful.”
“In this day and age when our aim is to ensure that every Guyanese, young professionals own their own home, their biggest promise is a house renting initiative. It is shameful, absolutely shameful.”
The former President also chastised the APNU+AFC coalition for seeking to introduce a National Youth Council when one already exists.
The coalition’s manifesto also explained developing a plan for technical vocational training, but according to Jagdeo, the PPP/C has already upgraded the technical programme in Linden and built a technical institute in Essequibo.
“We have established one in West Demerara, in Region 5, we have in Region 6,” he said.
He also criticized the APNU+AFC for now expressing desire to improve infrastructure in areas already outlined by the PPP/C.
“Isn’t it amazing that they’re promising now to build the Brazil road, construct a deep water harbor, do the hydro, do national airstrips; doesn’t this look very familiar to you? The entire section on infrastructure is almost lifted, some even word for word from some of the things that we proposed.”
He further noted, “I think the manifesto, as I’ve said before, lacks imagination; some vague promises and some specific promises that are not connected to a strategy. It does not offer how we’re going to finance these promises and that can only lead to failure.”