… says poor people will suffer
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has warned the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change
(APNU/AFC) Government that Guyana’s economy could soon hit rock bottom – a situation that would affect every citizen – and that a well planned out approach is urgently needed to keep this from happening.
He made this pronouncement on Wednesday, even as he called on the Administration to “wake up” and acknowledge the problem so that a remedy could be derived.
Jagdeo was at the time addressing journalists at the Party’s head office on Robb Street.
According to the former President, with the current state of affairs, Government is failing to address the needs of the people.
“Things are going to get worse, because we have a Government that is not acknowledging the problem. And if they don’t acknowledge it, they can’t fix it,” the Opposition Leader said.
He said there is no doubt the economy will slide further “if these people do not wake up. They can wake up”, he said, continuing that it is not just supporters of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) that are hurting, “all Guyanese are hurting. People are losing their cars, they cannot pay their monthly installments for their cars and homes etc. It’s not a partisan thing, everybody will be affected,” he stressed.
Jagdeo reminded of Government’s promise that the just concluded jubilee celebration would have seen a boom in the economy. However, there has been no indication of this.
“My argument is that they can arrest this, they can change this, they can change the narrative around the economy. They can change the policies that would promote investments etc. It is within their hands to send the right signal that would say to everybody that it is time that we spend our money,” the former President posited.
Jagdeo said he could not understand the logic behind the recent pronouncement by the Finance Minister that there is now a slowdown in the economy because there has been a slowdown in the flow of “drug money”.
“I saw the central bank trying to talk up the economy a little bit, maybe following directions from the Minister. But this Minister is confused. Once he says there must be a slowdown, this must be a PPP propaganda. But what slowdown is he talking about?” Then a week later after he was fed some excuse that it is drug money, that its got to be about drug money. So he’s moving from there’s no slowdown to that there is a slowdown, but with drug money.”
He said this assertion has caused the President to say recently that most of the huge buildings under construction have some link to illegal proceeds.
“So people come to me and I say to them hold on to your money if you have money, because we don’t know where this is going… I would say to businessmen, do not put up another building in the city, because every time you do that and the President drives by, he will think that it is coming from drug money or illegal proceeds, then [Special Organised Crime Unit] SOCU might visit you,” Jagdeo said.
According to Jagdeo, while opposition leaders would be happy that the economy is sliding, it is not the same for his Party, since “we want to make sure that the economy keeps sticking.”
Meanwhile, Jagdeo took to task the recent statement made by the Finance Minister that any bailout of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) could affect Government’s ability to pay public servants.
“Are they going to pay the public servants, and how much are they going to pay them. That’s the question. Nagamootoo said they had money set aside for over 100 per cent increase in salary for public servants. When those payments will be effected?” he asked.
He continued, saying “nobody is fights for the public servants. Many of them thought they had a champion in APNU. The President said some of them are lazy and they cannot expect high salaries. Is this not prejudicial to the negotiation? Is that statement going to be used to give the public servant paltry increases in salary? So when are they going to effect the payout to public servants? he again questioned.
“Here is Jordan talking about some bailout of sugar affecting public servants, but he has just exposed the treasury to over 600 million of liability”, the former Head of State said.