Region 10 Member of Parliament, Devin Sears, called out the government for ignoring the projects submitted by councillors of the Regional Democratic Council, that formed part of the requests made by residents following community engagement. In addressing the National Assembly on Wednesday, Sears, accused the current administration of ignoring representations made by Region 10’s councillors on behalf of the people.
“The Regional Democratic Council #10 (RDC) has never concurred with some aspects of the final budget submission. The hard-working subcommittees of the RDC met with the administrative arm, however, unfortunately many of the submissions that were originally identified by the residents were removed. Once presented to the Ministry of Finance, directives were given to remove projects, several important elements critical to this region’s development,” Sears claimed.
According to the Region 10 MP, projects that were removed by the PPP/C Administration include the construction of a new Wismar/Mackenzie Bridge and a new RDC#10 building; the Saint John’s Ambulance Brigade; ICT and other training programmes for youths and single parents; the Linden Economic Network funding and board; the Linden Hospital Board, and the purchasing of a new fire tender for Kwakwani, among others.
Sears noted, “There is no longer decentralization of Government, because now the PPP is instructing the NDCs and municipalities on how to function. So clearly the views of the people are not being considered. This is not the people’s budget anymore; it has become a Freedom House budget!”
He pointed that the education gap continues to grow, between persons in the hinterland and on the coast.
“Mr. Speaker, the Minster of Education will boast that all resource materials are posted on the ministry’s website; how can the students and teachers access same when the government did not maintain the internet hubs in the indigenous and rural villages,” he questioned.
Sears added that while unemployment has been a major issue for the people of Region 10, the residents and regional officials have been using tourism to fuel income. However, he noted that help is needed from the government to push one of the anticipated transformative sectors within the region.
He highlighted that residents would like to be the beneficiaries of an Eco Lodge at Rockstone; Cabins at Great falls; tax breaks which will encourage investments in the hotels industry, and an annual subvention for the regional tourism committees.
The regional MP indicated that while regional authorities have continuously asked that contracts be given to contractors within the region, the opposite continues to be done by the government.
Sears noted that Region 10 or any other region, “should not be short-changed of resources that saw a trajectory path of progress over the past years under APNU+AFC.”
Speaking generally on the budget, Sears posited that Budget 2022 does not seek to reduce the disparities in the distribution of Guyana’s wealth and income, instead it will extend the gap between the rich and poor, undermining the country’s economic development.
“We understand the context in which the budget for 2022 has been developed, a lot of fluff with bluffs. However, we are concerned that the current budget will not adequately address the economic fallout and the rising inequality that have worsened since the onset of Covid-19,” he stated.