By Kristen Macklingam
“Listen and stop acting like a bulldozer in a china shop…time lost can never be regained,” Chief Whip of the Opposition PPP/C, Ms Gail Teixeira cautioned the Government today as she kicked off day three of the 2016 Budget debates.
She pointed out that for the past eight to nine months the APNU+AFC coalition Government has dismissed 1,900 Amerindian Community Support Officers (CSOs), hundreds of qualified persons with University degrees and professionals in the public service and state entities including staff of special programmes such as the One Laptop Per Family and Amerindian Land Titling.
She noted that the later two programmes were designed to bring greater equality to the poor and vulnerable in Guyana.
The PPP/C Chief Whip stated that the government, since it took office in May last year, has also dismissed workers at the lower levels of the public services – such as clerks, drivers and cleaners who are “politically incorrect” by its definition.
She noted that contractors who were awarded contracts, prior to elections, were forced to halt work. “… and you had them waiting for months and then took away some of these contracts and re-distributed them to people who were ‘politically correct’,” Teixeira told Members sitting on the Government side of the National Assembly this afternoon. In the interim, she said thousands of workers lost their jobs in the private sector such as in the construction and manufacturing sectors.
“You (Government) condemn transformative development projects such as Amaila Falls hydropower, Specialty Hospital, E-Governance… projects that had taken years to negotiate and bring to the table when you put a halt…again more jobs were lost, more highly skilled people had to look beyond our borders,” Teixeira declared.
She also chastised the APNU/AFC administration for significantly contributing to the “brain drain” in Guyana, something that had, in fact, “been slowing down” recently.
According to her, the Government has dismissed and refused new contracts to thousands of people and therefore it has contributed to the levels of unemployment in Guyana.
Teixeira therefore demanded that the Administration launch a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the reason why there are such high records of job losses in the country and to “fix it”.
She told the Government MPs that, thus far, “time has been lost” and investment has been lost and the confidence and trust the public had in the APNU+AFC have eroded, overtaken by a “culture of fear”.
“The culture of fear is ‘creeping in’ as a result of the Administration’s approach and disregard for democratic governance. National unity takes time and effort and trust and building of confidence…you’re discriminating in hiring and repossessing poor people’s lots in housing schemes…you may not like what we say but this is about finding common ground…stop behaving like a bulldozer in a china shop…”
She strongly urged the APNU+AFC coalition to restore the ‘We Care’ programme and allow each child to once again receive the $10,000 as was granted under the previous PPP/C administration, the restoration of pensioners’ water and electricity subsidies as well as the school-feeding programmes in the hinterland regions.
“Implement the nine-point plan for rice industry…and stop the closure of the Wales estate!” Teixeira added.