President’s “policy speech” has left Guyanese no closer to anything – Opposition Leader

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General Secretary of the PPP, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

Former President and Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday dismissed many of the assertions and promises made by President David Granger following the Head of State’s Address to the National Assembly.

According to Jagdeo, Guyanese must reject the President’s parliamentary ploy which is nothing but an assessment of his performance to the National Assembly while Guyanese are faced with a “deteriorating state of life”.

Thrashing the final sum of money tabled for the dismissed sugar workers which will see the Wales Sugar workers being left unpaid, Jagdeo called out what he said was Government’s continued deception.

“We witnessed millions spent on an ad to say that sugar workers will be paid…the public would conclude based on that ad that some $7.5B will be paid to the sugar workers however in reality, only $2.4B was set aside for sugar workers….so this would exclude the Wales Workers who have been waiting since 2016” the Opposition Leader said.

While the opposition leader is maintaining that this was not a policy speech, he also sought to point out that no transparent policy guidance was given for the future.

“The expectation was not very high that we will get a policy speech and he lived up to that expectation. First of all this was not a policy speech, this was the president speaking about work programs for the pass year and what they have done while grading and assessing himself, an appraisal of himself and his Government and guess what? He gave himself a higher mark for how well they have done without addressing the consequences of his policies or giving us clear policy guidance for the future, in fact he immersed himself in issues that should be the subject of a budget speech and not for a presidential address to the National Assembly” Jagdeo lamented.

He noted that the Village Improvement Plans which the President spoke of was already in process under the previous administration and monies were left to fund these projects.

Adding to that, he said that the training of youths does not lower the unemployment rate since thousands of persons would have lost their jobs over the past three years.

“The President then says that youth unemployment in 2016 was 40% based on a CDB report, I have done quite a lot of training on the development of young people, but notice that he does not say what youth unemployment is today because we know that many people have lost their jobs in fact, 30,000 people have lost their jobs under his tenure in office and many of them are young people and those people can’t find a job now. So him numerating how many people they have trained through small programs doesn’t answer the fundamental question” the former president noted.

Jagdeo further called out the Government for their “hypocrisy” of announcing that Amerindians in the Hinterland areas has some 251 businesses erected stating that this is pure fiction.

He also quashed the notion that is being peddled by Granger which states that the rice sector is expected to receive major improvements next year revealing that cuts were already made to the Drainage and Irrigation (D&I) budget.

Further, he quashed the notions that the health and education sectors have improved.

“They are taking credit for improvements and putting out numbers but failed to address what they have done to our teachers who only received a 2% increase” Jagdeo argued.

The Opposition Leader criticized the transparency which Granger in his speech promised to be placed around the Oil and Gas sector.

According to Jagdeo, transparency cannot be promised when the Government is yet to discuss what happened to the $18M oil bonus which has not yet been placed into the consolidated fund.

The Head of State also promised a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) to be launched into the piracy attacks of Guyanese fishermen in to Surinamese waters earlier this year.

This Jagdeo stated is no new revelation from a Government known for their “frequent CoI’s.”

According to the former president, Granger’s speech has left Guyanese no closer to anything, as is the purpose of a policy speech.

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