Feb 12, 2024 News
Kaieteur News – Vice President (VP) Bharrat Jagdeo at his weekly press conference on Thursday last dodged questions on whether he can survive on $85,000 per month.
The VP while looking around the room, failed to give a straight answer, opting instead to take the reporter on a journey back in history and Guyana’s debt in the 1970’s. The former president was asked the question, taking into context that he lives alone and publicly there hasn’t been any confirmation that he has offspring, whether he can live on $85,000 per month.
“Now whether I can live on $85,000. I don’t have much expenses, you are right, I don’t have much expenses myself. Coming to the $85,000, let’s pay everyone half a million dollars if that’s the living wage. Take every cent that we have in the budget because that’s the kind of planning that will come out of APNU, and bankrupt the country so that three generations later we are still struggling from it, their debt,” he said.
The Opposition in the 70’s spent blindly as they “ate every cent of it out” according to Jagdeo, noting that this occurred when sugar and bauxite prices were three times what they were today. They would have then borrowed heavily, he said, creating a severely high debt in 1990 which was higher than today’s even though Guyana now has a bigger economy of $22B.
“So, we are never going to practice that kind of economics. Why not just pay everybody what the salary is in the US, in this country? Because your revenue has to sustain it for it to be in a long-term way, for it to be sustainable and countries gotta manage for sustainability that’s how we are.” he added.
Noting that his government does not have the same philosophy as others, he said that, “If that’s the case, I would hope that you are getting a half a million dollars from Glen Lall. So, the thing is that wage of policy has to grow in accordance with affordability that’s what we keep trying to drum in people’s head. Most people understand that except the Kaieteur News.”
Last week, teachers across Guyana downed their chalks and took to the streets to protest for higher wages and salaries through collective bargaining and the failure of the Ministry of Education to address their concerns. At last week’s press conference, Jagdeo either dodged questions in relation to the teacher’s salaries or tried to justify pumping billions into other sectors such as the sugar industry. The teachers have vowed to continue to strike until their needs are met.
President Irfaan Ali on Friday assured the protesting teachers to be patient. He said there is no need for them to down tools. During his speech at the commissioning ceremony for a simulator facility at the Berbice Oil and Gas college, the Head-of-State sought to explain how his government is going to “fix the welfare” of not only teachers but also other public servants including doctors and nurses.
“I said this to them then, that listen, we are going to commence the process of fixing your welfare but I wanted you to understand and Alistair (Alistair Routledge- ExxonMobil Guyana Head) is here, -we suffer from our own good news sometimes- everybody believes that all the resources are available now (but) in 2027 then is when the real growth in revenue coming in would be seen in the country,” Ali pointed out. “And I said to our teachers, our nurses, our public servants and I say to them now again that we are committed to giving you the best life possible,” he added.
General Secretary of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU), Coretta McDonald told Kaieteur News on Saturday that the President’s call for patience by teachers is one of cheap talk. “The GTU doesn’t buy into cheap talks. Talk can’t buy anything. We need proper salaries provision for teachers, and we need them now, we need provision for when they go to the hospitals, provision for teachers when they go to the bank for mortgage and such matters,” she said.
She said that Ali has failed to address the salary plight of teachers during the four years, which he has been in office and is merely throwing “cheap talks” at teachers.
Everything that comes out of Jagdeo’s mouth is aimed at confusing this nation.
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