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Opposition Member of Parliament, Vinceroy Jordan said the $330B Budget presented to the National Assembly by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government fails to adequately address critical issues in the areas of Health, Education, Agriculture and Security – at a time when the country is hard hit by the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Instead of building on the foundation laid by the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Government, Jordan said the PPP/C Administration has embarked on a campaign to dismantle projects, programmes and policies initiated by its predecessor much to the detriment of the people of Guyana.
Jordan, in his maiden address to the National Assembly earlier today, cited his region – Mahaica-Berbice (Region 5) as a perfect example. It was explained that under the David Granger Administration, the region’s Health Sector was significantly improved with Health Posts upgraded to Health Centres and Emergency Services functioning 24 hrs. Additionally, the Mahaicony Cottage Hospital and the Fort Wellington Hospital were modernized while two state-of-the-art Health Centres were constructed at Carlton Hall, Mahaicony and Cotton Tree on the West Coast of Berbice.
“Mr. Speaker, with the non-co-operation of PPP/C Regional Chairperson and Councillors, the regional administration still managed to keep all its health care facilities fully functioning and had proposed a green state hospital, which would have served as the regional hospital and take the already cumbersome burden off of the Fort Wellington and Mahaicony Cottage Hospitals,” Jordan told the House.
He said though Mahaica/Mahaicony/Abary Agriculture Development Authority (MMAADA) has already approved lands for the project in Onverwagt on the West Coast of Berbice, the PPP/C Government, did not allocate funds for the initiation of the project. In fact, the Opposition Member Parliament told the House that despite a budget of $51.7B for the Health Sector, there is little or nothing in it for the improvement of Healthcare Services in the Mahaica-Berbice Region.
In turning his attention to the Agriculture Sector, Jordan told his colleagues on both sides of the House that although Region Five is the largest agricultural district in the country, it was neglected under the PPP/C Administration for well over two decades.
“This sector, in rice cultivation has suffered tremendously from poor drainage, failed irrigation systems, blocked channels, eroded emboldening etc. while the self-centered egoistic beings of the day hurriedly filled their pockets forgetting the small man in the field of cattle rearing, diary production cash crops and poultry,” Jordan argued.
According to him, it was the under the APNU+AFC Administration (2015-2020) that the Agriculture Sector in the Region was resuscitated through services offered to the famers by MMA/ADA and NAREI.
Crediting the district’s success to the APNU+AFC, the Opposition Parliamentarian said the Mahaica-Berbice District remains the highest rice producing region after harvesting 454,476 metric tons of paddy (295,409 mt rice equivalent) at 99% harvesting rate in the year 2019.
The achievement, he said, is linked to the MMA/ADA being able to gain much needed revenues from outstanding land rates/rental (D&I charges) and sufficient amount of charges being paid for services offered.
While the move by the PPP/C Government to reverse the fees for lands under cultivation, land taxes, drainage and irrigation charges back to their 2014 position is deemed to be commendable, Jordan said he hopes that it is not just a mere gyaff .
“Mr. Speaker the regions Model farm is currently providing permanent employment for over thirty (30) persons and benefitting their families by providing fresh vegetables for the people of the region, Hospitals, Hugo Chavez Centre and as far as Region No. 10. It is sad to mention this budget has not catered $1 for the upkeeping of this project. Sir, is this the plan for prosperity?”
From where he stands, Jordan said it would appear that the Agriculture Sector is once again heading in a downhill. “As I said to residents and famers of the Mahaica/Berbice Region, be strong and hold fast for the APNU+AFC coalition government will soon come again to rescue the agricultural sector from this deadly pitfall,” Jordan told the House while giving the Government a ‘D’ for deception.
Similarly, the Opposition Member of Parliament told the House that under the APNU+AFC Administration, the Education Sector in Region blossomed benefiting both children and teachers. He detailed that two new nursery schools were built at Perth and Calcutta Mahaicony to the tune of $56M while an Information Technology and Science Laboratories were built at Woodley Park and Belladrum Secondary Schools to the tune of over $26M.
Renovations were also done to the Bygeval Secondary, Mora Point Primary School, Karamat Nursery School, Rosignol Secondary school among many other. Introduction of innovative programmes such as buses, boats, bicycles, books and breakfast, through the 5 Bs initiative have benefited students across the country.
Touching on the issue of Crime and Security, Jordan condemned the Government for interfering in the operations of the Guyana Police Force. He explained that after the once peaceful Mahaica-Berbice Region was plunged into mourning on September 6, 2020 after the gruesome murder of the two Henry boys and later Haresh Singh, the police were instructed to shoot peaceful protestors with pellets. Jordan said the nations awaits the completion of the investigations into the murder of Joel and Isaiah Henry and Haresh Singh.