Home Letters Band of ‘good life’ Ministers once again wasted taxpayers’ dollars
By definition, an outreach means providing a service or services to people in such areas where they may not have access to such service or services. The recent ‘outreach’ sponsored by the coalition Government which brought various Ministries to the University of Guyana, Berbice Campus at Tain is a misnomer and should be deemed more of a political gimmick and campaign strategy aimed at subsiding the fallout created by the December 21 No-Confidence Motion.
Editor, Berbice is not a remote area which is cut off from civilisation whereby the coalition Government is unaware of what is going on a daily basis. Every issue affecting every Ministry is highlighted in the various media including social media. There is a group called Moving Guyana Forward where a multitude of issues are raised and it is a group which has many Ministers and Government officials on it as well as various stakeholders. Furthermore, the Prime Minister’s Regional Office at Port Mourant is very active and would normally receive hundreds of complaints on a monthly basis, resulting in monthly reports being generated and sent to the Prime Minister directly. Therefore, this ‘outreach’ being an attempt to listen to problems and bring speedy resolutions to these problems is absurd, to say the least, and it suffocates our intelligence.
Moreover, this coalition saying that they are only effective by listening to peoples’ problems personally and on a one to one basis is simply trying to appease the people to get their votes. It is also an attempt to say that there is a complete breakdown and disconnect between the layers of Government. This is far from the truth since problems affecting the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) are channelled to the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) which is then transferred to the Central Government. Issues such as roads, streets, lights, water, drainage and irrigation are ventilated on numerous occasions but when budgeted for, they never see the light of day at the Central Government level. I have seen that a certain Minister on social media said that the Regional Administration of Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) is in the hands of the PPP and that they are responsible but she failed to acknowledge that the holder of the purse is her Government. The region’s development is stymied by the poor budgetary allocations.
It must be noted that the region’s approved Capital Budget for Agriculture for 2018 is a mere $221 million of which $106 million will be used to purchase a bulldozer while $114 million will be transferred to the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority for drainage and irrigation works. It will need a miracle from the Lord for this to adequately provide for a region which depends on agriculture. That is the reason why agriculture is dying a slow death in the region. Furthermore, the NDCs will receive a princely sum of $5 million each and are expected to repair all the streets, provide for drainage and irrigation and garbage disposal. This is the empowerment of NDCs which the coalition boasts about.
Editor, the plight and woes of the dismissed sugar workers have been echoing incessantly since 2018 and the cries of anguish fell on deaf ears. Are these Ministers in the coalition blind and deaf to the sufferings of these people? They need jobs, they are living in abject poverty and are unable to send their children to school. They have resorted to literally begging from relatives and friends. The coalition is providing training but where are the jobs? There is a limited market for plantain chips, cook-up rice and dog food! Until now, the privatisation process of the closed estate is still ongoing with no information available as to its status. It would seem that the bidders have all since fled. Many of the dismissed sugar workers were hoping to be re-employed. In addition, the elusive $30 billion bonds are yet to be used for its intended purpose, which is upgrading the remaining estates and the construction of two co-generation plants and production of white sugar. On the other hand, heavily indebted small rice farmers are being forced to stop rice cultivation. Their cries are not being heard by this Government. So why an ‘outreach’?
The coalition’s band of ‘good life’ Ministers once again wasted taxpayers’ dollars on an exercise in futility. Their ‘shelf life’ has long expired!