[www.inewsguyana.com] – The ruling People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has described as callous and inhumane the budget cuts by the Parliamentary opposition for Amerindian development and other sectors.
“This denying of such crucial funds is pellucidly demonstrative of the uncaring attitude and hypocritical stance by the Opposition towards our indigenous people,” PPP General Secretary Clement Rohee said at a press conference on Friday, April 11.
The Opposition voted against the $1.1 billion capital budget for Amerindian Affairs, including the Amerindian Development Fund.
Rohee found ironic the Opposition’s position, particularly APNU, since it was only recently that that Party pointed to lack of development in the hinterland Regions.
“Less than a week after, they have joined with the AFC and voted to deprive Amerindians and other hinterland residents of the very projects they called for,” Rohee lamented.
Despite the cuts, Rohee said the PPP government would continue to implement mechanisms “to improve the lives of our first people.”
As it relates to the cutting of the $910 million for the specialty hospital, Rohee said the Opposition did not take into consideration that in cutting the funding for the hospital from the 2014 budget, “they have heartlessly denied the provision of Regional and Clinical health services.”
The opposition parties had wanted the Specialty Hospital estimates to be delinked so they would not have had to cut the estimates for regional and clinical health services, but the Speaker had said that could not be done.
The PPP yet again accused the AFC of self-interest in denying funding for the specialty hospital. AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan had provided legal service to Fedders Lloyd, the company that engaged in a bitter public row over the award of the hospital contract to another Indian firm, Surendra Engineering.
“This self-interest has resulted in the Regions being denied funding for the purchase much needed ambulances, water and river transportation devices, office furniture and equipment and the rehabilitation of buildings to house Doctors,” Rohee stated.
The Opposition’s vote against the funding for the expansion and modernisation of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) also resulted in a cut in funding for the upgrading of hinterland and coastal airstrips, the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority and the Ogle Aerodrome.
Again in this case, the funding for the airport project was grouped under the same heading as the other items, and so could not be delinked and had to be voted as one.
“These airstrips provide a vital mechanism for the safe and timely delivery of food and medical supplies to hinterland resident and for expansion of local trade which would bolster the economy and create jobs,” Rohee stated.
“Guyanese must demand that the Opposition inculcate responsible tendencies if they want to be taken seriously in making a contribution to national efforts to make Guyana a better place for all,” the PPP General Secretary declared.