By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Parliamentarian and Agriculture Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy did not take too kindly to criticisms that government’s $10,000 cash grant ‘Because we care’ initiative is a political gimmick.
He told host of the radio programme ‘Hard Talk’ aired on 90.1 Love FM, Chris Chapwanya that the perception is “totally misplaced.”
“It’s foolish because last October, exactly a year ago, when we were discussing this and putting it into the budget, none of us had any inkling of a No Confidence Motion or any election. For them [politicians] to turn around and ingeniously try to say that this is about election, I think the people need to know the truth that this thing was in the budget long before any election,” Dr Ramsammy said.
The education grant attracted media blitz since its launch, with the erection of billboards, giving the impression that government is using the platform to campaign for elections.
The initiative has also seen President Donald Ramotar and several government ministers visiting various regions to distribute the money.
However, Dr Ramsammy defended government’s timing in launching the initiative.
“When we decided it would be distributed in October, it was so that children who start school in September would benefit so there’s a logic to it. It has nothing to do with electioneering. In any case, we don’t know whether we will have elections or not; we [government] are not calling elections. Whoever is calling elections, well that’s their problem,” Dr Ramsammy explained.
Thus far, more than $600 million in vouchers were handed over to parents and guardians since its launch.
Distribution is slated to end on November 21, and should cover the entire country. The $10,000 voucher can be encashed at Western Union outlets with recipients in riverain and hinterland locations receiving cash.