“You can’t run a country through vindictiveness” – Ramotar
Former President Donald Ramotar on Wednesday evening accused the coalition Government of being vindictive, reminding of several transformational initiatives which were not supported by present members of the current administration.
Ramotar was at the time speaking at a public meeting at Uitvlugt, West Coast Demerara (WCD).
Among the initiatives he alluded to were the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project, Anti-Money Laundering Legislation, and the $10,000 “Because We Care” Cash Grant Initiative.
Ramotar, who was President of a minority government leading up to the 2015 elections, reminded of the then Opposition’s attempts to block progress by voting against the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project.
The Opposition, comprising the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC), constantly used one-seat majority in the National Assembly to stymie development.
When the two parties assumed office in 2015 under the coalition, they scrapped the Amaila Falls Initiative, which Ramotar said, would have brought tremendous benefit to households and businesses, especially the manufacturing sector.
“They scrapped the whole thing! Why they scrapped it? Because it was a project of the PPP/C,” Ramotar told the gathering.
“You can’t run a country by vindictiveness,” he posited, reflecting on the likely benefits to the country had the coalition Government continued with the hydropower initiative.
“That is a project that when we come back to government we will have to pursue, but we would have lost more than three years, because already, we should have been having power from Amaila.”
Ramotar added: “And we would not have had blackout and it would have been cheaper for you to cook with electric stove than to buy gas if that project had come on stream.”
Ramotar also referenced the 2014 budget cuts executed by the APNU and AFC Opposition which negatively impacted the country’s economy, including affecting the payment of salaries of Government workers.
Additionally, the former President reminded of the then Opposition’s refusal to support the passage of legislation dealing with Anti-Money Laundering (AML). “You remember the AML Bill that they refused to sign? That is why even now, when you go to the bank, you have serious problems, you got to say where you get every cent from. They digging up all your past, because the PNC put us in this position by not signing the AML Bill.”
In fact, Ramotar posited that the PNC (the major party in the APNU grouping) had supported the amendments to the AML Bill all the time when it was a minority Opposition.
“But the moment they had the one-seat majority, they sabotaged our economy!
“They voted against all the developmental projects in our Amerindian communities, voted against the development projects here; we had to go to court to restore the budget,” Ramotar reminded.
Meanwhile, the former President also reminded of the “Because We Care” Cash Grant initiative – which was also scrapped by the coalition.
“They have taken away that programme that would have helped our children to become productive and useful citizens,” Ramotar expressed.
In appealing to residents to head out early on Election Day, March 2, to vote, he urged them to remember these actions of the current Government players.
According to Ramotar, it clearly shows that the present Cabinet of Ministers do not care about the development of the country.