“We will not harm your wellbeing” – Jagdeo to public servants
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has assured that the People’s Progressive Party is not going to let public servants suffer after March 21, when the Government becomes illegal and the country goes into a constitutional crisis.
He has promised instead to go after President David Granger and his cabal of ministers, for flouting the Constitution just so they can hold on to power.
At his weekly press briefing on Thursday, the Opposition Leader indicated that from the inception, his party had committed to not let the people of Guyana suffer, and this will not change despite the unprecedented situation the country has found itself in.
“I made it clear when I went to Parliament the first time, I said we will be the type of Opposition that will seek to bring benefits to the people, not hardships to them; that we’re not going to do anything to harm your livelihood and your wellbeing, like when the US Government recently had a shutdown… But we can’t do that in Guyana, we can’t do that to public servants… So we expect, and we will insist, that the hospital keeps functioning and that the Police and the army and our public servants have an income at the end of the month,” Jagdeo asserted.
The Opposition Leader did note, however, that the Opposition will continue to go after those top officials who insist on breaching the Constitution of Guyana.
“So we will limit who we target, because it’s not the public servants who’re breaching the Constitution, it is Granger and his cabal of ministers, who want to hang on to power for themselves, for the privileges and perks, and for the corruption you see; and therefore it would be unfair to target other groups of people,” he contended.
Jagdeo went on to say “…we will target the Ministers and we’ll target the President and we will target the Prime Minister; not with violence, because we don’t believe in violence. But we will target them with protests (because) they believe that they can stay there with impunity and with legal action (in the court).”
According to the Opposition Leader, should the PPP/C get into office, then they will ensure that the current Coalition Government officials are held responsible for any expenditure they incur during this period when the Government should have resigned.
“Any trips, etcetera, they will have to pay back for all of those things, because we need them to understand that you can’t stay with impunity to enjoy privileges in violation of the Constitution,” he stressed.
Furthermore, Jagdeo noted that once the March 21 deadline passes, a series of actions will be rolled out against the coalition Government, starting with intense protests.
“They will be targeted with protests and a whole range of action, but we’re not going to be violent… Next week, I will outline to you what are some of the additional measures we intend to put in place after March 21… But I want (to assure public servants) because I had a lot of calls from public officials who are uneasy whether they will be paid and whether the crisis will affect them getting their salaries at the end of the month. They have nothing to fear,” he insisted.
Jagdeo added that only those public servants who are complicit with the coalition Government in “this thievery that’s going on” should be fearful. “And any person who collaborated with the Government in this regard, they will face the consequences too,” he warned.
To this end, the Opposition Leader urged the Secretary to the Treasury to ensure that outside of the basic expenditure for the routine functioning of the Government, no other monies should be spent. He further cautioned that none of the privileges enjoyed by ministers should be funded, and that no contracts be issued in this period. He reiterated that those would be reversed should the PPP/C get into office.
Over the past weeks, several stakeholder bodies have been coming down on the APNU+AFC Government for not adhering to the Constitution, which mandates that the President and Cabinet resign and call elections within 90 days upon the passage of a no- confidence motion.
However, the Granger-led Administration has long insisted that there is no role for a “caretaker” Government and that they would continue to be in office until a new President is sworn-in.