By Kiana Wilburg
After assessing the performance of President Donald Ramotar’s administration for the past three years, Opposition
Leader, David Granger unequivocally concluded that the government has been nothing but a complete failure.
The Leader of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), made this statement to members of the media yesterday at his end-of-the-year press conference, which was held at the Herdmanston Lodge, 65 Anira Street, Queenstown, Georgetown.
Granger asserted that Ramotar, in a friendly review of his tenure conducted by the Government Information Agency (GINA) on December 12, described his three year tenure of office as ‘mixed’.
The politician reminded that Ramotar was sworn in on December 5, 2011, but opined that the reality is that his Presidency is worse than ‘mixed’ for it has simply failed in its most vital aspects.
He cited some of these as democratic governance, public security, youth strategy, control of public finance, public health strategy and infrastructural plans.
Granger said that President Ramotar will be forever remembered as the one who inflicted the greatest damage on parliamentary democracy by his November 10th, prorogation of the Parliament.
He reminded that Guyana’s National Assembly has not met to discuss the people’s business for five months. Granger remarked that the outrageous prorogation of Parliament was Ramotar’s way of avoiding debate on his own performance and that of his cabinet. He has failed, moreover, to conduct the prescribed periodic Local Government Elections provided for and protected by the Constitution, the Opposition Leader said.
Granger then pointed to what he described as a failed public security strategy in which he pointed out that Ramotar and his Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee have neglected to make Guyana safe for citizens and investors. He said that the combination of corruption, cronyism and other crimes has taken a toll on the quality of life.
The APNU Leader said that the number of armed robberies is increasing. Banditry in the hinterland, maritime piracy along the coastland, fuel smuggling, gun-running, contraband and suicides, Granger said, continue to propel a high rate of emigration to safer countries.
With regard to youth strategy, he said that Ramotar has no plan for providing jobs for thousands of young people who leave school each year, and that unemployment is the central issue affecting young people.
The Opposition Leader also said that Ramotar’s Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Frank Anthony, has been unable to produce a comprehensive National Youth Strategy in the eight years that he has occupied that post.
The politician also commented on the failed control of public finance by Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh who he reminded had to be referred to the Committee of Privileges twice this year, because he refused to comply with rules of the National Assembly.
He mentioned that Resolution 15 was passed in the House which required Dr. Singh to lay a report on all extra-budgetary agencies, including the Guyana Development (Lotto) Fund and that of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission. He highlighted too, that it also directed that the Finance Minister pay all monies being held by those agencies into the Consolidated Fund but this is yet to be done.
Granger then commented on what he deemed to be a failed public health strategy. On this front, he said that the Minister of Health, Dr. Bheri Ramsaran has failed to implement a comprehensive pubic primary health care plan. He noted that the country is still frightened by recurrent reports of outbreaks of the Chikungunya disease, and that the persistence of other vector-borne diseases such as dengue, filaria and malaria remain a threat to public health.
As for the public infrastructure plan, he said this leaves much to be desired and the public works sector performance has earned an “F” grade. Granger informed the media that President Ramotar inherited a bundle of flawed public infrastructure projects from his predecessor, Bharrat Jagdeo.
“He had no strategy of his own and failed to record a single success. The contract to construct the road to the Amaila Falls Hydro project had to be withdrawn from Synergy Holdings. The Atlantic Hotels Inc project, popularly referred to as the Marriott Hotel project is still mired in controversy. The Cheddi Jagan International Airport extension project faces challenges as a result of poor planning on the part of the Government.
The 560km Fibre Optic Cable Project managed by the President’s son, Alexei Ramotar is in jeopardy. The contract for the Specialty Surgical Hospital awarded to Surendra Engineering Corporation Limited has to be terminated on grounds of fraud and non-compliance,” Granger lamented.
On that note, the Opposition Leader reminded of another report by GINA which quoted Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon as saying that the government has not been able to achieve the objectives of the prorogation. But that is an understatement, Granger opined.
He said that Ramotar has not been able to achieve any meaningful objectives on anything, be it in democratic governance, economic development, human safety and social cohesion.
The politician concluded that the Donald Ramotar Presidency has failed. Granger’s comments were strongly supported and reiterated by APNU General Secretary, Joseph Harmon.
Even as he criticized the Government, the Opposition Leader was asked to describe his coalition’s performance in the National Assembly. “Excellent, pass, splendid, magnificent…” Granger remarked promptly.
Asked also if he could back up his grades with evidence that his coalition tried to stop those things for which the government ‘got an F grade,’ Granger said that his coalition has worked tirelessly to halt many of the abuses of the state resources, has increased the level of scrutiny and continues to struggle to ensure Guyanese have a better life.
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