By Gary Eleazar
A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) is being led through the nose by the Alliance For Change and even if either one was to take the reins of Government at the next General Elections, they would still have to continue to pursue many of the developmental infrastructural programs being implemented by the current administration.
This is according to Government Minister, Robeson Benn, who recently responded to the threats of Shadow Finance Minister, Carl Greenidge, as it relates to the engagements by the administration with investors both private and local during the current period of prorogation.
Greenidge had warned that the Opposition would not honour any agreements that the present government enters with multi-national entities during the current period of prorogation.
Benn in a recent exclusive interview with this publication stressed that the current political atmosphere has exposed the hatred and malice that a few persons in the AFC and in the APNU hold against the government.
According to Benn, the tragedy of the 10th Parliament is that it has not become the vehicle anticipated for rational discussion, debate and Parliamentary actions.
Benn is of the view that the APNU knows better and would want to do better but they are being “led around by the nose by the AFC.”
As it relates to the threats made by Greenidge, the Public Works Minister said that the policy and position of the Government and President Donald Ramotar is that under no circumstances, “we would have an intention to bring country to standstill in terms of growth and development.”
According to Benn, the infrastructure works identified and are underway such as the completion of the East Bank Demerara road widening, the continuation of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport Project, the East Coast Demerara Road, the rehabilitation of the East Coast of Demerara Road, the road to Parika on the West Bank of Demerara as well as the others such as the Canals Number One and Two Road Projects and the road to Timehri as well as the Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Project, “have to continue to allow for the unhindered growth of our country.”
According to Benn, “we are seeing rapid growth.”
He spoke to the number of vehicles being imported, the level of trade being undertaken and other positive indicators and stressed; “it remains under our responsibility, we have to make sure these things continue…We can’t bring activities like this simply to a stop…We have the airport project going…We simply cannot stop when we have projects in play”
He did point out that there is a need to look at the “legal and political issues related to these things.”
Regarding Greenidge’s and the Alliance for Change’s threats, the Public Works Minister said that he is not in receipt of any reports of concerns or fears from any contractors including those attached to the Airport project namely, China Railway Engineering Group.
“I am stating empathically, we cannot stop in midstream with these projects to allay any seeming speculations.”
He reminded that the political opposition has already been provided with all of the pertinent information and documentation related to these projects
Asked about what is required in terms of future relations and dialogues, the Public Works Minister posited that he is optimistic that the political opposition would agree on the development imperatives of the country.
“If they were to take over tomorrow, it wouldn’t be anything different. These are the national development imperatives and tasks …I couldn’t see them doing anything different…the airport has to be rebuilt and the runway has to be extended, that’s a given. …There is no way I see anybody else doing anything different.”
On the question of the Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Project, the Public Works Minister reminded that with such an initiative, Guyana’s developmental trajectory can be escalated since the cost of power would be reduced and stabilized, leading to the redistribution of subsidies into other development projects.
“I can’t see anybody doing anything different…The opposition initiated the Upper Mazaruni hydro project, it failed and I don’t know why anybody would want these projects to fail,” said Benn who urged the continued development of Hydro Electricity in Guyana.
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