AFC General Secretary, Mr Marlon Williams at a press conference, is quoted as saying: “Whatever you might say about the present coalition government, and its last four years, the question is, who do you trust, based on merit, based on experience. Who do you trust? Who can you trust? And based on the records of the two opposing parties that are going into this elections, that is the question for Guyanese”.
It is a very pertinent statement by the AFC General Secretary and should cause all Guyanese to question who we can trust. If one is to consider the actions of the Coalition in its term, so far, can we really conclude that they are trustworthy? Imagine just days after being sworn in, and among the first orders of business for the APNU+AFC, the Government gave itself a 50 percent pay increase. Worst yet when asked for a justification, the Government’s main spokesperson, Minister of State Joseph Harmon told the public, flippantly, the Government had no apologies for its act. But the Government went on and apart from the big pay hike, it took out multi-million dollar health insurance packages for its Ministers; it increased perks and other conditions, and saddled Guyanese with the largest Ministerial cadre in the nation’s history.
The Government also promised workers substantial pay rises with increases of 20 percent being touted. But when time came to pay, the Administration said it couldn’t afford. It even went as far as taking away the one month’s bonus from members of the Disciplined Services. But while crying wolf and singing it cannot pay, we saw the hiring of several party faithful in high posts of the State undoubtedly attracting super, if not magnificent, salaries. We should not forget too the Government spending over $300M to rent a so-called ‘drug bond’ from an individual who allegedly has close ties to those in power. How can we also not remember the purchase of drugs at several times the cost from preferred bidders? Then there was the imbroglio surrounding the feasibility study for a new bridge spanning the Demerara River.
The APNU+AFC said it would deliver a “Good Life to All Guyanese”. But did it do that? The answer is an emphatic no, in my view. On this score, the evidence is mountainous. We have the recalling of the school children grant; the abandoning of subsidies to pensioners; the taxing of electricity and water; the increased in the cost of Government services and fees, and the ballooning of the size of Government. We also cannot forget that this Government presided over the largest retrenchment exercise in the history of post-independent Guyana when it closed four (4) sugar estates and put 7,000 Guyanese out of work.
The Government also said it would respect the Constitution. But the Constitution said the Cabinet should have resigned when defeated by a No Confidence motion. This clearly salient clause has been disrespected and willy-nilly arguments are being proffered. Incidentally, those arguments have been rejected by both the National Assembly and the High Court. The Constitution also says Government should not interfere in the work of the Service Commissions but the Government, who undertook to abide by our Constitution, did just that, an act which the Court frowned on. And they are other instances of excesses and clear breaches.
So I go back to what Mr Williams said “who do you trust… who can you trust?… that is the question for Guyanese”. The facts lay bare as to who can you trust. The Government essentially has left Guyanese high and dry. Can we really trust them for five (5) more years?