‘Naked with nothing for the people of Guyana’ is what the 2019 Budget was described by the Chief Whip of the Opposition, Gail Teixeira as she delivered her remarks during the debates before the National Assembly on Thursday.
Questioning the benefits of this and the prior three budgets presented by the APNU/AFC coalition Government, Teixeira asked for proof of the “good life”.
“By the end when this budget is approved, we reached almost 1 trillion dollars…what would our country benefit from that sum in such a short period of time? Where is the proof of the pudding? Where is the transformations? Where is it that we can say that we are going forward. The ministers have also been hard of ears to what has been said not only by us who have been pointing out problems, but also by the trade unions, businesses, the people are talking and you have been hard of ears to what the people are saying…you have come into this House with this bullyism that nobody counts except you” the Chief Whip reprimanded.
According to the Member of Parliament (MP), the people of Guyana are suffering and the Government’s main concern since it took office has been for vengeance against the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C).
Teixeira chastised the Government for its vengeful ways which never sought to build national unity among the people of Guyana.
The MP noted that the coalition Government has blinded its eyes to the woes of the people in this failing land.
“We have heard about this being a good life but I want to ask the Minister on a human level, do you not see what is going on in the streets? Woman selling water for a living, beggars, the biggest industry in your Government is selling dog food…is this the new economy that you are proposing for the people” Teixeira questioned.
“Mr Speaker do they not see that our people are suffering? Do you not hear, have you talked to the taxi and minibus drivers, the boats operators who are talking about the lack of business? Have you asked the business people what is happening? You go to barbers, nail technicians, do you not notice that they are earning less? Are you blind, do you not see what is happening to the people? The vendors, you move them…400 people a lot of them are women… ask the miners what is happening with them…report showed that this economy was being boosted by gold that was keeping the country afloat…you went and seize their equipment, the one thing that is holding us up…you admitted it in the budget that gold is now going down…you need to change your policies!” the Chief Whip rebuked.
Touching on the health sector, Teixeira stated that the callousness of the coalition Government is causing the death of women daily in our health institutions.
She condemned the claims made by Public Health Minister, Volda Lawrence of improvements and questioned why in the 21st century, women are dying as a result of maternal complications.
“You say everything is improving that we are doing great in health and yet two days people have to spend in the emergency because of the lack of facilities……women are dying from maternal complication…you keep talking about improvements and women are dying because of callousness, lack of drugs and care…what sort of improvements are you really talking about” the MP probed.
As it relates to taxation, Teixeira questioned why fuel cost is yet to reduce even though the price of fuel decreased globally.
Further, she noted that calculations shows that each Guyanese citizen in 2018 paid $265,000 to the Government per capita in tax.
As a result of this, the MP revealed that spending power is expected to reduce by a whopping 18 per cent.
“Let’s talk about purchasing power, what drives the economy is people’s ability to spend…they are stimulating the economy so that people have more to spend and so Mr speaker, in 2019 the total spending is expected to reduce by 18 percent…that is $462,000 per household in Guyana. Do you understand when we say that this cannot be the good life? People have to buy children’s supplies…they need to take care of their families…people will now be spending less” Teixeira revealed.
The thing about developed states, the Chief Whip stated is that even when a Government changes, institutional memory remains.
This she noted was not the case of the coalition Government who squashed projects and fired experienced people attached to the Opposition without thinking of the benefits of those people and projects to Guyana.
“You fired keys members in every Ministry…you removed town clerks, REOs, Chairman, middle management and then you have a problems with execution… the Specialty hospital, Amaila Fall project, roads projects, these were programs that were in the making with investor being looked at…if you were not so small minded to allow the projects to proceed then there would have been changes now” Teixeira posited.
According to the MP, the recently held Local Government Elections (LGE) where PPP/C had a landslide victory is a landmark year for the party.
The Chief Whip noted that Guyanese are in essence telling the Government that their performance is bad.
In conclusion, the MP questioned where is the $30B GuySuCo loan reflected in the budget? The $788M part of the $18M US signing bonus from ExxonMobil, where is it? Where is the $18M that was supposed to be in the consolidated fund?
“You have lost a golden opportunity to present a better budget…this budget will not improve the lives of our people…this Government is on borrowed time…thanks to this budget, we will get into Government in 2020” Teixeira declared.