Oct 10, 2019 Letters
Parliament is due today, but The PPP/C will not be there. The chairs for The Opposition would be unoccupied due to the fact that the party has categorically rejected this government. The Constitution of Guyana has branded entities like The PNC Led Coalition as illegals and so does The PPP/C, the answer is as clear as that. The fact is you cannot legitimize an illegal government, the laws of Guyana is very explicit in this regard. All civilized countries, those that are under democratic rule are governed by laws and Guyana is no different, so The PPP/C has every right to boycott this eleventh sitting of the house.
Having laid out the ground rules for The Opposition’s refusal, we must turn our attention to some of the reasons why The PNC has decided to convene parliament. Now their call for a return to parliament hinges on two key areas, that is the natural disaster facing the nation at this time due to the unusually high tides and money for GECOM.
There would be a big hue and cry that there is dire need for billions for infrastructural works on sea defenses and the like to help mitigate the disaster caused by massive flooding. You would hear of the heartless nature of The Opposition who care less of people and the nation but are only concern about their own personal agenda. You would be bombarded with talk that Jagdeo and The PPP/C are an uncaring lot who are only avidly obsessed with power and nothing else.
Now, if all of these things are true then you don’t have to depend on The PPP/C to release funds from the treasury for natural disasters, there is a contingency fund for such things. If this so-called caretaker government was acting in its real capacity then matters of disasters should have been budgeted for and monies expedited to the affected areas immediately, there is no need for a parliament to address that. But it all goes to show how desperate The PNC are to legitimize their standing before the people that even a natural disaster would be used to achieve their evil end. The PNC would be seeking to gain sympathy for their pathetic showing as a government.
Then, since they have so much concern for the nation and caring of its people, then why not use the billions earmarked for Mashramani Celebrations next year? Yes, there are billions set aside in slush fund to massively fete locals as well as foreign participants to galvanize support for the flagging PNC, then I would suggest siphon off some of that cash for disaster preparedness. We won’t mind you using up our taxpayers money in a worthy venture such as disaster mitigating projects.
The PNC is once again “p***ing in we eye and calling it rain,” but this time we are seeing them for who they are worth bluffers and evil squatters.
Handouts cannot develop the lives of the people over the long term
I refer to a news report in one of the daily newspapers on October 1, 2019, captioned “Nappi residents overjoyed about first-time water access in homes”. Editor, I found many misleading statements in that article that brings into question its credibility.
Editor, under the PPP/C administration the water sector had experienced unprecedented progress and development, as the focus was on ensuring greater access to potable water was given to the local residents. The PPP/C administration investments in in the sector included but was not limited to solar water systems, drilled wells, trestles and gravity feed systems. The strategy if we had won power in 2015 was to expand the water treatment facilities to ensure more people can benefit from potable water.
But the record of the PPP/C Government can stand up to scrutiny since it has enough empirical evidence to show that the PPP/C administration transformed the lives of thousands in the Amerindian communities. It is an incontrovertible fact that the successive PPP/C administration made Hinterland Development a priority which redounded to the benefit of Guyana’s first peoples. Numerous socio-economic initiatives were implemented in all hinterland communities, all to eventually bring hinterland development in conjunction to coastal development without sacrificing traditional values and customs.
Primarily, the ultimate goal of these development projects under the PPP/C were focused on making these hinterland communities self-sufficient, with a robust system of self-administration under the Amerindian Village Councils . After all, it was the PPP/C who established the first every Ministry of Amerindian Affairs in 1992 to focus the agenda on rapid hinterland developments.
And we should not forget that it was then President Cheddi Jagan who designated Amerindian Heritage Month and honoured the first Guyanese indigenous Member of Parliament, Stephen Campbell, by naming September 10 every year as Amerindian Heritage Day.
Editor, I want to take this opportunity to remind the readers of the following:
The PPP/C government had provided the necessary funds for presidential grants, which had significantly impacted Amerindian communities. The presidential grants had allowed many villages to implement empowerment/development projects.
LAND TITLING AND DEMARCATION
The implementation of the US$10.7M Land Titling Project was well advanced under the PPP/C administration. This programme which began in 2013 and had targeted 45 villages and the process should have been completed by the end of 2016. Unfortunately the Granger administration has not completed any land titles since May 2015 causing massive delay in the process.
Hinterland communities had also benefitted from the National Housing Programme. Among the communities that benefited were White Water, Manawarin and Oronoque in Region One, and Kwatamang, Annai, Massara, Katoka and Apoteri in Region 9.
HINTERLAND ELECTRIFICATION PROGRAMME
Hinterland communities were provided with electricity through the Hinterland Electrification Programme with upgraded grid systems in Madhia, Port Kaituma, Lethem and Matthews Ridge.
Amerindian communities were provided with the necessary infrastructure which had enabled them to receive the quality of education for their development.
Spread across the hinterland regions are approximately 250 schools, inclusive of secondary schools at Annai, Aishalton, Sand Creek, Kato and Waramadong. All of these schools had dormitories to accommodate students from far flung areas. The PPP/C transformed the secondary school network in the hinterlands of Guyana.
The National School Feeding and Uniform programmes aided thousands of hinterland students, providing them with hot meals, and school uniforms. The direct benefit of this programme was better school attendance and performance.
Each student in the public school system benefitted from the PPP/C government “Because We Care” $10,000 cash grant that ensure they were properly outfitted at the beginning of the school term.
The Hinterland Scholarship Programme had provided academic facilitation, both at the secondary and tertiary levels for hinterland students, annually.
Amerindian communities had benefitted from transportation assistance in the form of buses, All Terrain Vehicles, boats and engines and pick-ups to aid in community projects, transport students to school, emergencies, among others. Tractors and trailers were also given to boost agriculture ventures and were also used to transport villagers.
To create greater linkages between Amerindian communities and improve access to goods and services, the PPP/C government had invested huge sums on the establishment of new roads and maintenance of existing ones. There was consequently reduced costs resulting from easier accessibility to goods and services, all due to improved road networks.
The PPP/C government had ensured Amerindians receive much-needed healthcare, which was seen through the expansion of hospitals or health centres in every hinterland community.
Community Development Plans (CDPs) were aimed at securing livelihood options for Amerindian communities under the Amerindian Development Fund of the Low Carbon Development Strategy, to embark on projects in the areas of agriculture and tourism, among other job and wealth-creational areas.
YOUTH EMPOWERMENT – YEAP
The Youth Empowerment and Apprenticeship Programme, which was aimed at developing young Amerindians in various skill areas, recruited 1972 youth as Community Support Officers in various regions where Amerindians reside.
To ensure every Guyanese citizen has access to Information Communication Technology, the PPP/C government initiated the One Laptop Per Family Programme.
Computer Hubs were in the process of installation in every Amerindian community so that they too could have benefitted.
Editor, I can go on and on to mention numerous achievements, progress and developmental initiatives that have taken place across the hinterland regions under the successive PPP/C administration, which is are in stark contrast when compared to the PNC regime, a currently the illegal coalition government.
Editor, it is evident the Granger group is traversing across the hinterland at the expense of taxpayers, distributing handouts, while using state resources in their bid for the Amerindians and hinterland residents to give them another chance at the upcoming elections. But handouts cannot develop the lives of the people over the long term; they want opportunities and this is what this Granger group fail to give the Amerindians.
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