PM defends Govt’s unblemished track record of creating opportunities for all Guyanese
In recent weeks, Guyana has seen a vicious onslaught of claims from certain sections of society that have sought to malign the PPP/C Government for discriminatory policies against Afro-Guyanese.
Let me be clear. These accusations are baseless and unfounded as our Government has demonstrated through our policy framework that our transformational development agenda will be achieved based upon the inclusivity of all Guyanese.
I understand race is an emotive subject for many Guyanese and that is why forces are seeking to exploit our fears, divide us as a nation and rob us of the opportunities that are flowing as the world’s fastest-growing economy.
We in the Government will not be distracted by false narratives peddled by certain unsavoury characters which are designed to generate racial hostility and undermine our transformational agenda which is creating historic opportunities for all Guyanese.
We will continue to confront the lies, machinations, and diversionary tactics of those who want to see Guyana fail as a modern democratic state.
Most recently, my attention was drawn to a letter penned by Nigel Hinds (KN: September 19, 2022) who introduced an absurd concept by alluding to several unsubstantiated claims about the treatment of Afro-Guyanese under the PPP/C Government.
He starts by explaining that racism is getting worse in Guyana, but offered no evidence to support this ridiculous claim.
Instead, he fumbles through his missive only to arrive at a conclusion using his cocktail of lies as justification for the APNU + AFC’s boldfaced attempt to rig the 2020 Regional and General Elections.
Desperation has set in for those peddling their racist agenda, because how else does a rational person explain a chartered accountant with possible political aspirations callously justifying our democracy being undermined by cowards?
As a Government, we are immovable in our position against APNU+AFC and its actors within GECOM embarking on open banditry against the will of the Guyanese people as they attempted to rig the 2020 elections.
We will continue to support all legal means to punish those responsible for bringing shame and disgrace to our democratic processes.
Mr Hinds is not a lone wolf.
The opposition and their confederates are busy creating mischief and drumming up racial strife within our communities. While they are doing so, the PPP/C Government is constructively engaged with Afro-Guyanese leaders, groups, and communities who were neglected and used under the APNU+AFC administration.
These engagements have taken place in southern Georgetown, Mocha/Arcadia, Linden, Buxton, Golden Grove, and Melanie Damishana to name a few.
In many cases, residents have confirmed that the PPP/C’s high-level ministerial visits to their communities are the first such to be undertaken by any Government.
Arising from the visits are working solutions with residents to address community needs such as improved roads, bridges, potable water supply, access to agricultural lands, and the resolution of long-standing land issues among others.
Contractors from within Afro-Guyanese communities are benefiting directly from the infrastructural development taking place as in the case of Buxton where 25 contracts were recently awarded to repair bridges in the community.
As an Afro-Guyanese myself from the town of Linden, I am proud to be part of the PPP/C Administration where all Guyanese, inclusive of Afro-Guyanese, have equal access to opportunities and where national policies and programmes are never influenced by race.
Our policies are non-discriminatory.
I am honoured that I am part of a Government that has reinstated and increased the “Because We Care” cash grant and uniform grant, benefiting thousands of children in communities all across Guyana.
This programme was stopped by the APNU+AFC.
Benefits are across the board as our Government has removed VAT on water and electricity, basic food items and household necessities, educational and medical supplies, certain construction materials, and most recently on building cement, sheetrock and concrete board.
The application of the freight cost adjustment for the calculation of import taxes, rolling back freight cost to pre-pandemic levels from 1 August 2021 until 31 December 2022, is estimated to save $10 billion for businesses and consumers.
Guyanese are taking advantage of the national part-time worker programme which was launched in May 2022 in Regions Two, Three, Five, Six, and 10, with some 9000 persons benefiting thus far.
Our Government has progressively lowered the Excise Tax on fuel from 50 per cent in February 2021 to 0 per cent in March 2022. This reduction has eased the burden of high fuel prices on households across the country.
We understand that homeownership is near and dear to all Guyanese. This desire is not unique to any particular group.
That is why the Government is providing the steel for construction as well as a sling (fifty-six (56) 60lb burlap bag) of cement for beneficiaries constructing houses costing $6M and less, while persons constructing houses costing above $6M and up to $25M will receive two slings.
The interest rate for houses costing up to $9M is set to be reduced to 3.8 per cent while there will be no down payment requirement for houses and buildings costing $6M or less.
Under our Administration, we have seen over 16,000 house lots allocated under the flagship “Dream Realised” Housing Drive in Regions Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Nine, and 10.
We have reversed land lease fees across all sectors and water charges back to 2014 rates and reversal of land taxes and drainage and irrigation charges back to 2014.
In just two years in office, over 5000 Certificates of Titles and Transports were distributed and more than 1200 affordable housing units were constructed across Regions Three, Four, Six, and 10, with some 300 completed and handed over to low and moderate-income families, and young professionals.
More than $15.4B has been expended to support the expansion of water distribution systems, drilling of new wells, and providing improved level and quality of service, including first-time access to water to more than 35,000 people in over 60 communities.
Over 10,000 new service connections were provided to support the rapid expansion of the Government’s massive housing drive and homeownership programme.
Over 50,000 residents of Georgetown, Region Four and Bartica, Region Seven, are benefiting from improved service delivery and quality as a direct result of interventions targeting the replacement of old transmission mains.
In Georgetown, work was focused on Vlissengen Road, Newtown Kitty, Mandela Avenue, and Cemetery Road.
Our social programmes are providing a safety net for all vulnerable Guyanese. We have provided a cash grant of $100,000 for each child with a disability regardless of ethnicity.
Some 1500 persons benefited from the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security’s Eye Care drive which included free eye tests.
We have provided $1M in grants to 30 young persons to support creative ventures in literary arts, film, fashion and music.
Government has recently announced plans to invest $9M to cover studio time costs for the next 12 months at three local studios for musicians to record their music.
New hospitals and improved healthcare delivery are once again national priorities set to benefit all Guyanese accessing public health facilities.
These are just a few of the opportunities and programmes provided by Government in the past two years that prove that no Guyanese is being denied access to opportunities from our Government.
Mr Hinds and others peddling race are in quicksand and are therefore running out of time as more Guyanese come to grips with the deceptive tactics of a few lonely voices.
These voices go cold when confronted with the facts as I have laid out above.
Let us continue to pursue a path that will bring us all together as One Guyana, as through our collective efforts we will be able to achieve our fullest potential as a nation.