The Alliance for Change (AFC) has some nerve. Imagine, it is making an accusation against NICIL, and then demanding that NICIL prove the allegation.
This is what the AFC’s stance as regards how much money NICIL is supposed to have amounts to. It was the AFC which went public with the claim that NICIL was conceivably sitting on some fifty billion dollars.
Well, if you make an allegation, it is your duty to prove the allegation. You cannot on the one hand accuse NICIL of having fifty billion dollars and then ask NICIL to prove you wrong. This is exactly what the AFC is asking of NICIL. The AFC makes the accusation and then wants the accused to prove the accusations wrong.
Perhaps that is what operates in some Dutch jurisdictions where the onus is on an accused to establish his or her innocence, but when it comes to the system under which we operate and which is dominant throughout the free world, the obligation is on the accuser to establish the guilt of the accused.
The AFC has failed to do this. It had an opportunity to do so and thus embarrass the government on national television. But it was a “no show,” offering the excuse that it does not wish to debate the head of NICIL; it wants to interrogate him.
But on what basis is it going to interrogate him? Is it going to interrogate him on the basis of what he calls “jumbie arithmetic”? Or is it going to interrogate him by asking him to produce the very evidence which is likely to contradict the AFC’s position?
On top of this, some of the mouthpieces of the AFC are now claiming that persons should stick to the fifty-billion-dollar figure, because NICIL has not disproved it. It is not for NICIL to disprove anything. It is the AFC’s duty to establish the veracity of its claim that NICIL is sitting on fifty billion dollars. If the AFC cannot do this then its credibility is seriously tarnished, and it needs to offer an apology for misleading the nation.
The AFC is inconsistent. On one hand, it claimed that it voted down the LCDS because the monies were not yet received by Guyana, and suggested that when they were received that, the government could approach the parliament for a supplementary provision, seemingly forgetting that it was the initial position of APNU that a supplementary provision could only be approved if the expenditure was not predicted.
It then indicated another reason for withholding approval. It said that what was required was a conditional appropriation. Yet one of its leaders was on television arguing that the party did not consider the LCDS funds as revenues, and therefore it required a conditional appropriation.
This is confusing, because if the LCDS money is not revenue, then there is no need for a conditional appropriation, since the funds would then constitute developmental assistance. The AFC needs to clear up its fuzziness on this issue before it gets lost in its own haze.
The AFC also supported slashing the subventions from NCN and GINA, claiming that reform was needed. This is despite the fact that GINA is the government propaganda machinery and is expected to be partial to the government.
The opposition claimed that these cuts were intended to force change, one of which is presumed to be a greater voice for the opposition in NCN programming. Yet when presented with an opportunity to promote change, it backed out of an all-critical debate.
But this is probably how the AFC hopes to promote reform: by staying away and then making an excuse about wanting to interrogate the head of NICIL in front of the Economic Services Committee of parliament.
It seems now that in the process of interrogating the head of NICIL in front of the Economic Services Committee, its grilling of him is not going to be confined to the fifty billion dollars, but is now going to involve wasting the committee’s time. The AFC wants to interrogate the head of NICIL about the sale of land at an area which the public has nicknamed Pradoville 2. It wants to know what were the criteria used for the allocation of lots.
But why ask NICIL? What does the head of NICIL have to do with answering questions about the allocations here? NICIL does not allocate lots.
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