– cites excessive spending
By Abena Rockcliffe
Probably being the lone voice in the wilderness, Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo has articulated concerns over the government-initiated countrywide cleanup exercise.
In fact, the former President condemned the government for the amount of money that is being spent on efforts to return Georgetown to its status as the ‘Garden City’.
Based on what he said, Jagdeo does not see the health and tourism related benefits that investments in cleaning exercises attract.
“What I see is an obsession with spending.”
The former President spoke about this at his most recent press conference held at Freedom House Robb Street, Georgetown.
Jagdeo told the media that the government just likes spending “and so we see a lot of cleaning work being done.”
He accepted that “It is wonderful” but pointed to the fact that “Cleaning is expenditure.”
The Opposition Leader, who once served as Minister of Finance, added, “We need to see a country with the same sort of effort and support to productive sectors as well as job creating sectors. (This is) because, even as a country, you can only spend money if you earn it. My fear is that they (government officials) are so big on the spending side that they are forgetting that after a time, if you do not fix the side that generates the revenue you are going to run into difficulty. This (excess spending) seems to be the philosophy driving the government now.”
Even with his point about expenditure, Jagdeo is the only individual in high office who has publicly objected to the clean up exercise.
Even many citizens who felt slighted by the recent salary increases for politicians were somehow consoled by the ongoing cleanup campaign. This was reflected yesterday as Kaieteur News interviewed some parents and guardians who accompanied their little ones to an area on the Merimand’s Mall. That area that was once consumed by bush and garbage has since been turned into a recreational facility. It is now decorated by swingers, sliders and benches. Also, there were facilities such as portable toilets and sanitary bins. From the looks of things, the area is yet to be further developed as heavy duty equipment was parked close by.
Almost one year ago, the city of Georgetown underwent a massive clean-up campaign which was spearheaded by the then People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government as part of its initiative to promote a cleaner and healthier environment.
Le Repentir Cemetery, which was in dire need of restoration, was allocated $100M and works on Blocks One, Three, Four and Five of the cemetery commenced under the PPP/C Government’s $1B “Clean-up My Country” programme.
But even though all this money was allocated, the evidence was not as clearly seen.
On the other hand, Finance Minister Winston Jordan, in his budget presentation told the National Assembly that the money set aside for the restoration programme for Georgetown will enhance the aesthetics of the capital, befitting the unique architecture of colonial buildings, tree lined avenues and canals that are attractive to all.
“To assist in the resuscitation of our capital city, we have allocated $300M for the Georgetown Restoration Programme, encompassing an intense clean-up campaign, while enforcing laws on littering,” Minister Jordan noted.
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