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Guyanese must not sit idly by and allow the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) to run away with the proceeds from our natural resources by establishing and managing a Fund that is virtually owned and controlled by them and not the citizens. The fact that the PPP/C set out to ram the Natural Resources Fund (NRF) Bill through the National Assembly without debate is indicative that they are conscious what they were doing would not be acceptable in society.
This is a political party that walked the length and breadth of the country, and throughout the world, complaining about every difference they may have had with another government, be it form or content. Yet at the same time the Opposition’s reaction to the effort to pass the NRF Bill, which was provoked by their behaviour, they would like us to think was unacceptable.
Despicable acts often spark reactions by those uncomfortable with the acts. For one to tell me about condemning the response of the Coalition Opposition to the government’s despicable act, is to say that we need to turn a nelson’s eye to the raping of our democratic values and systems. The government must be told by every right-thinking Guyanese that we shall not stand by and allow them to put systems in place to hive off the riches of this country.
The NRF Act must be challenged at every forum. The supreme law of the land, i.e. the Consitution of Guyana, has vested in every Guyanese the right to be involved in the management and decision-making processes of the state that impact their well-being (Article 13). Oil and gas would impact every aspect of our well-being. Cuffy, who started the process of establishing a Republic, gave his life for what today we are beneficiaries of. Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow, Forbes Burnham and Cheddie Jagan built the foundational blocks for a modern society and nationhood. They all died of moderate means to make life better for all of us.
Why should we now, at this juncture of our history, allow greedy men and women of the PPP leadership to put systems in place with the sole intent of hiving off Guyana’s wealth for a few?
Oil and gas have become significant factors in our country’s day-to-day activities, to the point where these have become common features in our lexicon. How dare the regime decides it could rob the citizenry of their right to be involved in shaping a law to determine how the money should be spent. For the regime to decide-within less than 21 days-they will consult, pass a Bill and sign same into law hours after the Parliamentary sitting ended, speaks to a roguish mentality and behaviour.
Absent from the Act are measures that could be used as deterrent when persons seek to hive off our Natural Resources Fund. The explanation given by the government, that they are penalties in other areas to deal with theft of the Fund, confirms the belief that the framers of the Act intention is to steal the money, and in the event they are caught it would be difficult to hold them accountable.
The government is out of order. To say in the Act the Minister has a responsibility to the nation to report how much money is collected, but at the same time allowing for the government not to report how and when the money is spent, is legitimising non-accountability. We are facing a situation where laws are being put in place to legitimise unacceptable behaviour. We have reason to be worried. Very worry.
The Ali/Jagdeo regime is either ignoring the masses or doesn’t care that the masses are not stupid and can see through their shenanigans. On this issue, we must not be divided because division threatens our economic future and development. The resources of this nation belong to all Guyanese. Collectively we must fight to ensure we are the beneficiaries.