Apr 04, 2013 News
Parliamentarian Sydney Allicock who was celebrated by the government as a “hero”, yesterday hammered away at the very government on corruption as he denied support for the 2013 budget.
“It is not a human budget. Rather, the Government continues its trend of including projects in the budget to ensure that its cronies benefit financially,” Allicock declared yesterday.
Speaking in the National Assembly during the Budget Debate, Allicock described the budget as a miserable failure.
“This budge is a miserable failure of the government to understand the realities of the masses; to give expression to their needs and aspirations. It is a miserable failure of the Government to address the issues that abound in this beautiful piece of God’s earth called Guyana,” Allicock stated.
Regarding the Rupununi, Allicock said “the lack of vision, will, skill, the lack of prudent management and the abundance of corrupt practices have combined to render the Rupununi one of the most backward places in the entire Caribbean.”
He said that there was no proper consultation with residents or their representatives.
“The people of the Rupununi are very intelligent and know what is needed in their various communities. They do not need someone sitting in their carpeted air-conditioned haven in Georgetown deciding what they need,” Allicock stated.
Allicock bemoaned the fact that when the regional administration makes suggestions, the bureaucrats do their own thing with the submissions.
He said that was a case of “speak democracy, act hypocritically.”
Allicock pointed to a severe lack of a range of services in the Rupununi.
Regarding employment opportunities for young Amerindians, he said that the majority are forced to seek employment in Lethem and Brazil.
He said that in Lethem the real prospect is for a job as a shop attendant.
“Young people with five and more subjects are working as shop attendants since there is hardly any other opportunity for them. Those who migrate to Brazil find themselves in somebody’s kitchen or on a farm as farm hands,” Allicock stated.
He called for the setting up of a Technical Institute in Lethem that would give the young people life skills.
“Instead of transporting workers of every category into the Rupununi, we can have a ready supply of skills needed for the type of development we need,” Allicock suggested.
He said that the Regional Administration requested the construction of Teachers’ Quarters in Toushida, Achawib, Kakikumbay, Hiawa, Annai, St. Ignatius and Crashwater. However, he found it mind boggling that the first request was not approved. He said the projects were listed in order of priority, but the foremost priority – Toushida – was left out. Another village was included for which none was requested.
That village, he said is Sand Creek, a well known stronghold of the ruling PPP.
He said that requests were made to construct sanitary blocks at Arapaima and Aranaputa Nursery schools and Yurang Paru, Kaikumbay and Kwaimatta Primary schools. These were approved, he said, but two more, which were not requested were thrown in – Shiriri and Kumu.
He said that the so-called state-of-the-art Lethem Hospital is woefully inadequate to serve the needs of the region.
“This facility is a glorified health centre at its best.”
He said that the hospital is currently not capable of diagnosing a simple case of typhoid.
“We need a hospital that is fully staffed, adequately stocked with equipment and drugs, we need specialist doctors, we need at least a general surgeon, not periodically but full time,” stated Allicock.
He said in the Rupununi pregnant mothers were required to travel to Lethem Hospital on motorcycles, over rough terrain.
He pointed to the case of a young mother, Ms. Rosaline Stephen. He said that when she started having labour pains at Parishara, she was taken some 11 miles on motorcycle to another village from where a vehicle was sent to take her to Lethem.
When she got there she bled profusely and was rushed to Boa Vista in Brazil where she died.
Allicock lamented that nothing is being done to avoid a recurrence, since what has been requested is an All Terrain Vehicle and not an ambulance. The area needs a vehicle capable of traversing the rough roads of the Rupununi.
“The government is wasting taxpayers/ money and does not have a grasp and vision of the needs of the communities. This is because the planners have the means to go overseas,” Allicock stated.
Allicock also pointed to other problems in the Rupununi and said that on the basis of the lack of vision in the budget to address those problems, he could not support the budget.
“I am calling on my colleagues to vote against this apology that we have for a budget. I am calling on my colleagues to send a clear signal to this uncaring administration that we are not prepared to tolerate and give our blessing to mediocrity, which in turn fuels corruption and graft.”
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