2017: A year of job loss, poor leadership – Jagdeo

The parliamentary Opposition, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), on Friday said 2017 was characterised by job loss and poor leadership.
According to Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, the year 2017 was an unprecedented year. Zeroing in on the economy, Jagdeo said Government has missed its economic growth target. “2017 has been an interesting year, with thing

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo (centre) along with Chief Whip Gail Teixeira, and parliamentarians Priya Manickchand, Juan Edghill, Odinga Lumumba, Pauline Sukhai, Clement Rohee, and Dr Vindhya Persaud

happening that were unprecedented. If you look at the economy, we have missed our growth target twice in the year… even a lower than budgeted growth target was not met. The Government in 2017 failed to unveil an economic plan for the country… a plan that was promised since 2015,” the Opposition Leader said.
He added that Guyanese are given new promises for the future but without any proper economic policy, those promises are empty.
“All we have is new promises that they will continue to work on a green state strategy for the future… which will be the economic plan for Guyana. So at this point in time, we are adrift once again. No leadership from the Government in the economic sphere. No coherent economic policy. We saw the Budget 2017 sand its draconian measures devastate the business sector and people’s lives.”
Jagdeo pointed to the job losses in the year. He gave the experiences in the sugar sector as an example. The former President also noted the various scandals that rocked the country during the year. He referred to the US$18 million sitting in an unaccounted for bank account; the new Demerara Bridge crossing.
“So you can characterise it as the year of significant loss of jobs. In the sugar sector, people were devastated. Nearly 5000 sugar workers were sent home. In almost all the other sectors people have lost jobs. And their promise that they will create thousands of new jobs has not been kept. In fact, our country has gone backwards.”
“Thirdly, we have seen several scandals emerging. From procurement of drugs, single sourcing, to the infamous bridge contract, to the US$18 million that still remains in an account not provided for by our Constitution or our laws.”
Jagdeo did not forget the unilateral appointment of a Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairman. He pointed out that this act threw away decades of practise in which the two political sides worked together to fill the post.
In summing up the year, Jagdeo said these occurrences combine to put Guyana’s democracy on a more tenuous footing than before.

Parliamentary affairs
Also attending the press conference was party Chief Whip Gail Teixeira, parliamentarians Priya Manickchand, Juan Edghill, Odinga Lumumba, Pauline Sukhai, Clement Rohee, and Dr Vindhya Persaud.
Zeroing in on parliamentary affairs, Teixeira slammed the parliamentary excesses and described the National Assembly as a rubber stamp. She also questioned the haste to appoint a Chancellor of the Judiciary, querying whether this may be to secure a more amenable decision in the cases before the courts, including the case of the GECOM Chairman.

Summing up the country’s rate of implementing its major projects and the work of certain agencies, shadow Public Infrastructure Minister Juan Edghill described the Government’s performance as “pathetic”.
He pointed out that in 2017, the country started the year with the establishment of Power Producers and Distributors Inc (PPDI) and a promise that Guyana Power and Light (GPL) would do better. However, he noted that the fact that blackouts continued into Christmas Day tells volumes. According to Edghill, there remains no comprehensive plan for energy.
Pointing to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), he noted that despite declarations that 81 per cent has been expended, there are more works to be done.
According to Edghill, pipe dreams are being sold. He recalled the promise for a waterfront development project and the road link between the East Coast and the East Bank. Instead, he noted that all the Ministry’s implementation projects were routine works.