The route that the APNU+AFC coalition Government is taking remains “visionless”, the end result of which is that the entire Guyanese populace will lose its trust and any confidence it had in the administration “as citizens continue to suffer and live in fear”.
This was the bold and eloquent declaration by Opposition PPP/C Member of Parliament, Charles Ramson Jnr, during the week-long 2016 Budget debate that started today in the National Assembly.
He said the government’s actions and signals are “destroying confidence every day” among the citizenry.
“… the uncertainty of change, the pace of change, the uncertainty of a clear and articulated vision for the future…it is destroying confidence every day,” Ramson posited.
According to him, “the fear being created by the government is having a direct, adverse impact on the economy and the future of Guyana.”
“The fear about passing laws, giving GRA the power to go and investigate into your bank account, or the fear about moves being made to take away your land or property, the fear of higher taxes and increased fees and increased collections, the requirement of certificates of compliance before you obtain government services, the fear of the re-emergence of the People’s Militia, the fear of military officers seeking to unlawfully detain you or your family members then chasing them down the road in high speed, dangerous and reckless chases (one that ended up with three persons dead) and then the government turns around and says there is no need for a probe…,” Ramson told the House.
He said another reason the public continues to doubt the Administration and cannot trust it is because of the “major political changes” which have taken place in government-run and government-controlled organisations and agencies.
“There are too many shocks in the system, too many for it to handle…persons with the institutional knowledge to effectively run the system are being replaced and they are being replaced often times with political hacks, persons who are ill-equipped to fill those positions. They are sent on leave for extended periods of time…,” he pointed out, in reference to the hundreds of persons especially from a particular ethnic group and with known or perceived affiliations to the now Opposition PPP/C being dismissed or placed on the breadline since the APNU/AFC government took office nine months ago.
He pointed out that the APNU+AFC coalition is still operating as it did while it was in Opposition with regards to “cutting” the budgets presented in the National Assembly. To add credence to this argument, Ramson alluded to the fact that the Government last year (2015) budgeted for $221B, and of that amount, $30B was not spent.
“This time it is cutting its very own budget. All in all, it can’t work!” Ramson Jnr declared.
According to the PPP/C MP, “when trust is lost it is sometimes never regained” and while the Administration touts that the economy has grown by three (3) per cent, the population is yet to “feel it”.
“If they do not feel the benefits of that 3 per cent growth, that their personal circumstances are improving, then it defeats the purpose. It also means that there is a qualitative disconnect between what the budget says and what they are feeling, which means that it affects credibility and in the end that affects their legitimacy…I was very surprised when I heard in the budget thus far that there were no reports of job losses.”
He explained that for the Government to believe that there has been no loss in jobs during the time it took office last year to date either means that the Administration is “not speaking to people” or that the citizens are not speaking to the Government.
However, the MP disclosed that his Party has been conversing with numerous businessmen across Guyana and they have been complaining that “money is not circulating” and “nothing ain’t happening”. (Kristen Macklingam)