Bringing Govt to the people everywhere in Guyana

More than 70 years after its formation, the People’s Progressive Party has never been more popular than right now. Whether the PPP is in Government or in opposition, their hallmark signature is their involvement and engagement with the people. As an Opposition party, this was true for Cheddi Jagan’s PPP (1964 to 1992), as it was true for the Bharrat Jagdeo’s PPP (2015-2020). As a Government, this was true for President Cheddi Jagan’s PPP Government, as it was true for President Bharrat Jagdeo’s PPP Government, as it is now true for President Irfaan Ali’s PPP Government. In Government, the PPP’s strength is its consistent efforts to bring Government to the people, everywhere in Guyana. Whether it is in a Region that represents its stronghold or in a Region that is consistently hostile to the PPP, the President and the Ministers are always among the people, taking Government to them, sitting with them, trying to resolve issues, seeking to bring relief for people.
Just a cursory review of the activities of the Government this past week reveals how the PPP is bringing Government to the people. Presently, every single Minister and senior Ministry official are out in the various communities distributing the “Because We Care” education cash grant. More than $3.2 billion is being transferred from the Government’s account into the pockets of ordinary families across Guyana. Ministers of Government have been in different parts of the country and will be in the next few weeks as cash grants for more than 172,000 children are handed out in the presence of these Ministers. Government officials, officials from the Auditor General, the media, teachers, parents, and children are witnessing Government in action, in big communities, in small communities, in communities in the remotest parts of the country. During these interactive sessions, citizens get to interact with Ministers and other officials, with Regional Democratic Council officials and NDC officials. During these interactions, citizens seize the opportunity to raise issues and seek solutions to problems they are encountering. For example, on Monday morning while representing Minister Priya Manickchand at Cornelia Ida Primary School, a young mother with an autistic child related to me her struggles getting help for the child. I arranged for several persons to meet her in my office so that together, between the Health and Education Ministries, we can sort out help for this young mother. This is what bringing Government to the people means.
While the “Because We Care” education cash grant is being rolled out across Guyana, Minister Ashni Singh and Attorney General Anil Nandlall, who themselves are engaged in the cash grant rolling out, are also engaged in National Insurance Scheme (NIS) outreaches. Over many decades, the NIS either has misplaced, cannot locate or never had records of contributions made by people. There are many families around Guyana who have retired and now cannot get their NIS benefits. The President Irfaan Ali-led Government has embarked on a formal outreach programme, led by Ministers, specifically Ministers Ashni Singh and Anil Nandlall, and including senior officials from NIS and from among employers, like GuySuCo, in an effort to resolve once and for all the problems that people have encountered for decades. After years of hoping the NIS gets its act together, the PPP Government has decided the time has come for drastic action. Having given NIS an opportunity to resolve people’s problems by themselves, the PPP Government is now ensuring they are part of the process to bring an end to decades of back-and-forth between the NIS and people.
This past week also saw Minister Collin Croal leading a team from the Ministry of Housing and the CH&PA in an outreach at the National Stadium tarmac to distribute 1000 low-income house lots in Region 4. This is the latest outreach in which the Ministry of Housing is engaged in a public interaction with people, handing out house lots. Last week, the PPP Government had a similar outreach in Linden (Region 10). Before that, outreaches had been held in Regions 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6. In less than one year, more than 5200 house lots have been distributed. When the PPP promised during the campaign that a minimum of 50,000 house lots would be developed and distributed during this first term, some doubted that this was a realistic promise, but in less than one year, more than 5000 house lots have already been distributed. This is more than what the previous A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government distributed in five years.
In recent months, Guyana has experienced severe weather conditions that have led to massive flooding in all Regions of Guyana. Throughout these difficult times, the President and Cabinet members have been in the communities leading response efforts. The presence of Government in the communities could not stop the rains and could not stop overflowing rivers and canals. But the presence of Government among the people provided reassurance that the affected communities were not alone. The Government was present to do whatever could be done to reduce the impact of flooding conditions. Now the Government is preparing to go back among the people to provide support for recovery from the devastation of the flood. This is how we bring Government to the people.