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The PPP government’s incompetence and neglect are evident despite billions of dollars of current and projected oil revenues, according to an opposition press statement. The statement cites the demands of workers and their unions on Labour Day 2023, which reflect the pervasive sense of gloom and pessimism that has engulfed the country. The workers’ demands for a minimum livable income, tax relief, subsidies for utilities, transportation allowances, better school meals, and unemployment or job seeker support, among others, are all about getting the cake itself, not just the icing on the cake.
The opposition agrees with most of these demands, which are not just about putting the icing on the cake but about getting the cake itself. The workers are calling for a life free from poverty and economic insecurity and rejecting the idea that they must remain the working poor. They want incomes and benefits that ensure a decent standard of living, and the mood on Labour Day was that workers’ patience with the government is running out.
The opposition statement points out that high GDP growth rates and large national budgets do not translate into a life free from destitution and hardship. Inadequate food and nutrition, high infant mortality rates, and reduced life expectancies persist. The PPP government is the main obstacle to a high quality of life for Guyanese workers and citizens. Its attitude towards the poorer classes is disdainful, and its economic development plan and simplistic focus on infrastructure benefit a rich cabal of friends, family, and favorites.
The opposition views a minimum livable income, subsidies, cash transfers, and other public expenditures as investments in people rather than consumption or handouts. These investments are not only the moral responsibility of a decent government to its citizens, but they also stimulate socio-economic growth and development. The more people participate as workers, business owners, producers, creators, investors, consumers, and citizens, the more robust the economy and the more just and equitable the society, the statement says.