Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
The PPP assumed office with many promises. On the legislative front they promised a ‘fast track’ approach with a ‘heavy agenda’. It was wishful thinking at best. Facts are better than dreams. Over the last four months they have managed only an anti-poor Budget. Ram & McRae’s “Focus on Guyana’s Budget 202O” notes, “Under relentless calls for lower and lower taxes by the private sector, the tax mix has moved inexorably towards indirect taxes which are borne disproportionately by the poor.” The Report ends, “To use the famous cliché, this is the largest Budget ever. The question is whose Budget?”
The sparse Bills passed thus far were to prop up this badly conceived Budget which only benefits a few. It clearly was not a working class Budget and to demonstrate that there were no salary increases, much less ‘retro’ to public servants.
Comparatively, within the same period of the APNU+AFC Government there was robust movement legislatively which saw a very animated National Assembly of the Parliament of Guyana. The Assembly saw the passage of several critical pieces of legislation: The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Act 2015, Constitution (Amendment) Act 2015, Former Presidents (Benefits and other Facilities) Act 2015, Fiscal Management and Accountability (Amendment) Act, Local Government (Amendment) Act 2015, Customs (Amendment) Act 2015, Income Tax (Amendment) Act 2015, Local Authorities (Election) (Amendment) Act 2015. And of course a consequential first Budget was passed: Appropriation Act 2015.
Perhaps, the learned Attorney General has been far too distracted pursuing political vendettas to be bothered with doing the business of the people in the National Assembly at one of the most critical junctures of our country’s history.
In crucible moments of a nation leaders must rise to the occasion, meeting the needs of the hour head on, as articulated by the great American historian Doris Kearns Goodwin in her book ‘Leadership in Turbulent Times: Lessons from the Presidents’. In such seminal moments of our nation we have had President Burnham’s plan to ‘Feed, Clothe and House the Nation’, we’ve had President’s Hoyte’s ‘Economic Recovery Program’ and President’s Granger’s ‘The Good Life’ plan: the economy was being restructured, no tear gas or pellet gun was fired, our boys freely climbed trees in backdams; COVID-19 was under control. We were winning.
In the crucible of 2020, with the greatest public health crisis of ours or any generation, we have a clearly listless Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs emblematic of his Government; and a languishing, lethargic National Assembly under the PPP.
Sherod Avery Duncan, MP