Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
…says will remain a voice for the poor, working class
By Svetlana Marshall
Though she opted to take a back seat following the 2020 General and Regional Elections, Simona Broomes said she is not done with politics, and promises to remain a voice for the poor and working class.
“There will not be a return because I have gone nowhere,” Broomes said as she sat down for an interview with the Village Voice Newspaper.
Broomes, who at various points held the portfolios for labour, natural resources and youth affairs under the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Government, said she took a conscious decision not to return to Parliament.
Such a position, she said, was conveyed to Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) David Granger even before the APNU+AFC shortlisted candidates to sit in the National Assembly. PNCR forms a major part of the coalition.
Throughout the interview, Broomes was tightlipped about the reason behind her decision to take a backseat this time around. “It was a personal decision, and one of myself and family, not to return to the National Assembly at this time,” she would only say.
LACK OF RESOURCES
However, Broomes said though she served to the best of her ability under the Coalition Government, all was not well.
“I took the oath to serve the people of Guyana and I did that to the best of my ability and so, I would say that my performance was above board and to the expectation of the people of Guyana,” Broomes said.
The US State Department 2013 TIP Hero said during her time in office, she worked tirelessly to improve working conditions across the various industries, prevent human trafficking and the exploitation of workers, resolve labour disputes and meet the needs of small and medium scale miners. It was under her watch that former employees of Tower Hotel won a $10M lawsuit against the hotel. Broomes was also instrumental in the establishment of a National Mining Syndicate – a mining organization that advocates for reasonable, sustainable and safe exploration within the extractive industry through policy development and education.
The former government minister, who worked as a miner for 30 years before her state appointment, said much more could have been done had she resources to execute the job.
“I was not able to accomplish all that I could have accomplished. Moving from the various ministries, it had its setbacks,” Broomes said but made it clear that she used every appointment to make a meaningful impact regardless of the sector or the ministry.
However, she said there was no clear direction given to her, particularly in the case of the Ministry of Natural Resources. “…There was no clear roles or responsibilities from the minister. When you are in these ministries, it is not the president, it is the minister that has the responsibility to say these are some of the areas and these are some of the things that I want you to deal with or I want you to look at. And at the Ministry of Natural Resources, no, it didn’t happen. Did I have resources? No, I didn’t have, and so more could have been done,” she explained.
The situation, she said, was similar at the Ministry of Social Protection, in which she served as Minister with responsibility for Labour. She said her reassignment to the Ministry of the Presidency took place after the 2018 No-Confidence Motion, and that meant there was no budget for her office. Broomes said at times, she found herself utilising her own financial resources to assist persons who visited the ministries, and as well as to facilitate work-related trips to the interior and other locations. “But regardless of what…my commitment really outshone whatever resources and whatever was not there, that was lacking because I was committed to serving the people and making a difference in the lives of the people,” Broomes.
AN ACTIVE POLITICIAN
Notwithstanding the challenges, Broomes assured that she remains a politician and more importantly a member of the PNCR. “Did I resign from the PNC? The question was asked of me before; no I did not resign from the PNC. Am I active, fully involved in what is happening? No, I am not, not at this time,” she said, while pointing out that even while serving as Minister of Government, she hadn’t a lead position within the PNCR.
However, she made it clear that she is not done with politics. “Because my commitment is to people and to country, I want to say that, I am not done with politics, I am not done with politics,” she said while expressing her displeasure with the manner in which the country is being governed.
Broomes said since demitting office, she has been working through her organisation – Broomes Foundation – to assist the less fortunate.
Apart from her organisation, Broomes said she will soon return to communities, independently, to address social issues. Asked whether she is forming a political party, Broomes said she will do whatever the lord leads her to do but refuted claims that she is actively forming a party. “I want to be quite honest…it is not true,” she said while reiterating her commitment to work with the people on the ground. “I am sticking with the people on the ground,” she said.