Latest update March 25th, 2023 12:59 AM
Dec 09, 2016 News
– Calls for investigation into outstanding US$5M in GTT shares
By Kiana Wilburg
The proverbial “dirty laundry” of the coalition administration was on several occasions, aired out in the
National Assembly by the members of the political opposition as they made their contributions to the debate on the 2017 budget which started on Monday.
Opposition Member, Indra Chandarpal noted during her presentation that the Government’s mantra of a “Good Life for all” has come to mean nothing but increase in taxes and joblessness for Guyanese. She also called the Government’s record of transparency and accountability into question.
The Member of Parliament (MP) noted that since the coalition party came to power, there has been a change for the worse. She said that questions still remain unanswered as to the financing of Government’s multimillion-dollar infrastructural venture called the D’Urban Park Project.
Chandarpal said also that there has been nothing but silence from the Government regarding the questionable acquisition of eight containers of steel worth hundreds of millions of dollars by contractor, BK International Incorporated.
The Opposition member also called for an investigation to be launched into the outstanding US$5 million on the sale of Government’s shares in GTT.
Chandarpal noted that the Minister of State Joseph Harmon returned from China with documents on the issue. She said that the nation is yet to see these documents and Government, in the interest of transparency, should make them available.
Chandarpal said that the matter needs to be settled once and for all. She stressed that on one hand, the
nation is being told that the money was paid off, yet NICIL is indicating that it has never received the money.
“This matter should be investigated immediately,” Chandarpal said.
Also lending support to her argument was Opposition Member, Odinga Lumumba.
Like Chandarpal, he called for the oppressive measures in the budget to be removed. He even sought to separate the budget from the personality of Finance Minister, Winston Jordan. He described the economist as a “very caring person” while noting that it must have been traumatic for Jordan to present a budget that has the “shades of economic genocide.”
Lumumba concluded that the budget only outlines a number of infrastructural projects, but fails miserably to show the relationship they have with the nation’s economic growth. He stressed that some of the projects are just part of the Government’s “political gymnastics”.
As for Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira, she said that the government inherited a nation that showed positive economic growth rate over the last eight years averaging 5%.
Teixeira noted that today, the economic growth rate has dropped to 2.6%, which is lower than the 4.4 percent rate projected by Minister Jordan in the 2016 Budget just 10 months ago. Teixeira said that this is the lowest recorded growth rate in the last eight years.
The MP said that it is now an undeniable fact, given the aforementioned, that the government is
underperforming and has made no effort to enlighten the people or the Parliament as to the reasons why it has underperformed with its capital projects.
The Opposition Chief Whip also noted the poor performance of the traditional sectors under the new government. She stressed that before the 2015 elections sugar’s growth rate stood at 16%, rice at 19%, forestry at 14%, manufacturing at 11%, construction at 18% and services sectors at 3%. Now in 2016, Teixeira said that those figures have declined.
She said, “It seems that the poor maths assessment in 2016 that the government referred to is not at the primary school level but permeates the highest forum of this country – the Cabinet.”
Speaking to the “crème de la crème” of the Government’s record thus far in office, Teixeira said that the APNU+AFC has managed to strike up 26 scandals of corrupt practices, breach or total disregard for the procurement laws and regulations, cronyism, and just raw corruption in 19 months; the latest being the Jubilee D’Urban Park Development Project.
The Opposition Member even challenged those on the Government’s side of the House to find 26 scandals of corruption during the 23 years of PPP government versus 26 scandals under the APNU+AFC government in 19 months.
“We still remain convinced that the rush to bring a second budget within 10 months in one year is not without some profound concerns of opportunities for abuse, and just as important, restricting the parliamentary opposition in carrying out its constitutional responsibilities to scrutinize the estimates and hold the government to account.”
The Opposition Member stressed that the APNU+AFC government on its own is solely responsible for contributing to the decline in hope and optimism, trust and confidence in the society, and warned that it is hard to regain.
They are being paid while we are being played…your pain is their gain!
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