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—says Ali govt removing safeguards to hand out money to party hacks
A New and United Guyana (ANUG), on Tuesday, lashed out at the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government over its consistent move to marginalize Guyanese, who are not perceived to number among the party’s faithful, and to position statutory institutions and systems to facilitate easy access to state resources to pursue its divisive agenda.
“Our democratically elected Government is using the absolute power enjoyed under the current Constitutional system to consolidate its power, to streamline up its unobstructed access to State funds, and to exclude any non-PPP Guyanese from access to information which would enable scrutiny of its management of the country and its resources,” ANUG said in a statement on Tuesday.
In support of its statement, ANUG pointed out that the Irfaan Ali Administration firstused its majority in the National Assembly to authorize an increase in the amount of money it may borrow.
“It then began to spend large sums of money on ad hoc and poorly monitored cash hand-outs and inadequately audited and poorly monitored contract awards. This expenditure could only have been funded by increased borrowing, and it is likely that borrowing was done against the collateral of the Petroleum Fund. But what was the money spent on? Billions of dollars were given to agriculture producers and to sugar workers. Billions were spent in the award of contracts to party supporters,” the political party said.
It noted with much disappointment that qualification criteria in the procurement process has been either overlooked or ignored altogether in cases where party supporters are involved.
“Bidding processes were and are undermined and the best bidder is not certain to be the bidder to whom the contract is awarded. The party faithful are receiving their reward,” ANUG contended.
Addressing the highly controversial Natural Resource Fund (Amendment) Bill, which was tabled just last week and is expected to be debated in the National Assembly on Wednesday despite objections from civil society actors, ANUG said Government’s intention to use its majority in Parliament to amend the Petroleum Legislation to remove meaningful safeguard will only result in a spending spree.
Turning its attention to the issue of marginalization, ANUG pointed to the treatment meted out to nurses and teachers as against treatment meted out to sugar workers.
“The hardships endured by those not numbered among the party faithful are equally unacceptable, as is the Government’s treatment of those categories of Guyanese who traditionally fall within the ranks of Opposition supporters.
When the nurses in Linden protested against mistreatment by hospital administration, their reward was threats to deduct the protest days from their salary. When teachers ’concerns were in the spotlight, the Government did not ‘have time ’to consult the Teachers ’Union, which it deemed to be political. Most egregious was the unilateral 7% increase for public servants,” ANUG pointed.
It noted that based on the 7% increase, a clerk in the public service will receive a monthly increase of $5,000 while ex-sugar workers, and even those who were rehired, received $250,000, coupled with an increase in wages and salaries.
“The reality is that the Government sees itself to be untouchable, thanks to the equally divisive and heavy-handed governance methods of the APNU before 2020, and the flagrant and failed attempt by that party to rig the 2020 elections after it realized it had lost the vote,” ANUG said.