Ally, Teix­eira clash over ‘good life’

-‘Bring on no-con­fi­dence mo­tion,’ min­is­ter says

Stabroek News - - NEWS -

In­sist­ing that the op­po­si­tion’s no-con­fi­dence mo­tion against gov­ern­ment will be de­feated, gov­ern­ment Chief Whip Amna Ally yes­ter­day ex­pressed con­fi­dence that the APNU+AFC coali­tion will also re­tain of­fice at the next gen­eral elec­tions in 2020.

“Bring it on! Bring it on! The APNU+AFC is a solid 33, you have an in­de­ci­sive 32,” she shouted to those sit­ting in the op­po­si­tion seats.

Gov­ern­ment has a one­seat ma­jor­ity in the 65mem­ber Na­tional Assem­bly.

Ally, who is also the Min­is­ter of So­cial Pro­tec­tion, used her al­lot­ted time on day four of the de­bate of the gov­ern­ment’s pro­posed 2019 na­tional bud­get to not only high­light the work her min­istry did this year but to ham­mer home the point that the gov­ern­ment is not wor­ried about the no-con­fi­dence mo­tion, which has been lodged by PPP/C Gen­eral Sec­re­tary and Op­po­si­tion Leader Bhar­rat Jagdeo.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion, she said, has a clear vi­sion and is pri­ori­tis­ing in­vest­ments that would re­build the phys­i­cal and so­cial in­fra­struc­ture of Guyana.

“This is a bud­get for the peo­ple,” Ally shouted above bang­ing ta­bles and she later dis­missed the ut­ter­ings of op­po­si­tion par­lia­men­tar­ian Nigel Dharam­lall, who dur­ing his pre­sen­ta­tion to the House claimed that it would be the coali­tion gov­ern­ment’s last bud­get.

She stressed that the coali­tion will “stand firm and that the elec­torate is happy be­cause they have be­gun to en­joy the good life and look for­ward to even bet­ter days un­der the APNU+AFC.”

No good life

How­ever op­po­si­tion Chief Whip Gail Teix­eira was adamant that the good life does not ex­ist.

She spent her al­lot­ted 35 min­utes paint­ing a pic­ture of hard­ship and bad gov­ern­ment poli­cies.

Not­ing that by the end of 2019 gov­ern­ment would have spent ap­prox­i­mately $1.3 tril­lion, she asked, “We have heard about this be­ing the good life. So, Mr. Speaker, I want to ask min­is­ters…Do you not see what is go­ing on in the streets of our coun­try? Do you not see the in­crease in the beg­gars? Do you not see the num­ber of young peo­ple and women who are at traf­fic lights clean­ing wind­screens and sell­ing water to make a liv­ing?”

Teix­eira fur­ther ques­tioned whether the now well-es­tab­lished dog food in­dus­try is a sign of the good life. “The peo­ple are suf­fer­ing—Do you not see? Do you not hear?” she shouted be­fore ac­cus­ing min­is­ters of not go­ing out to meet ven­dors and other busi­nessper­sons but in­stead are driv­ing around in their “big fancy land cruis­ers with se­cu­rity.”

Given the con­tin­u­ous loud out­bursts dur­ing her pre­sen­ta­tion, Speaker Dr. Barton Scot­land at one point had cause to warn the mem­bers to keep their voices down.

“We have tried by all means to put for­ward mea­sures that can help. You don’t un­der­stand Min­is­ter Jor­dan that by com­ing up with these mea­sures on how to im­prove the gov­ern­ment [and] how to stim­u­late the econ­omy, you’re tak­ing a po­lit­i­cal risk as a party...? Were you to im­ple­ment this, we wouldn’t have trou­ble get­ting into gov­ern­ment in 2020 but thanks to this and what you are do­ing now, we will get into gov­ern­ment in 2020,” she de­clared.

Teix­eira ad­dressed the is­sue of in­creased taxes, the re­moval of tech­ni­cal per­sons as well as the gov­ern­ment’s aban­don­ment of sev­eral projects and pro­grammes since 2015.

To­wards the end of her pre­sen­ta­tion, she noted that she agreed with a fel­low op­po­si­tion mem­bers that the 2019 bud­get will de­stroy the econ­omy and dis­em­power peo­ple. “I want to say, Mr Speaker, they (gov­ern­ment) have lost a golden op­por­tu­nity …to come out with a bud­get that would save our na­tion, stim­u­late the econ­omy, im­prove the qual­ity

of life of our peo­ple. This bud­get will not do that sir. Un­for­tu­nately, this bud­get will take our coun­try fur­ther back,” she stressed.

High­lights

Ally in­formed the House that work has been done to re­form the so­cial ser­vices sys­tem and as­sured that the good re­sults will con­tinue in 2019.

She said that there was “mea­sur­able progress and in­creased vis­i­bil­ity” in the ex­e­cu­tion of the min­istry’s man­date in 2018 and de­scribed these as “solid achieve­ments.”

Ally told the Na­tional Assem­bly that 1,264 women, young peo­ple and en­trepreneurs ben­e­fit­ted from train­ing un­der the Sus­tain­able Liveli­hoods and En­tre­pre­neur­ial De­vel­op­ment (SLED) pro­gramme in 2018. She said that $150 mil­lion was bud­geted and 33 projects were iden­ti­fied for ex­e­cu­tion in var­i­ous re­gions. Ar­eas of in­ter­est, she said, in­cluded poul­try and pig rear­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing, fruits preser­va­tions, mak­ing of jams and jel­lies, shade house cul­ti­va­tion, women em­pow­er­ment train­ing, block mak­ing, leather craft pro­duc­tion and fish cul­ti­va­tion.

In 2019, the al­lo­ca­tion has been in­creased to $250 mil­lion and ac­cord­ing to Ally, gov­ern­ment is in­vest­ing more be­cause of the pos­i­tive im­pact on house­holds and the trans­for­ma­tion of peo­ple’s lives. “The fig­ures and ev­i­dence are clear,” she stressed.

She dis­missed the op­po­si­tion’s claims that not much de­vel­op­ment is hap­pen­ing in Amerindian com­mu­ni­ties. She said un­der her min­istry alone gov­ern­ment has em­pow­ered peo­ple in many Amerindian com­mu­ni­ties. She also iden­ti­fied the “5Bs” Project, from which those liv­ing in the hin­ter­land have ben­e­fited.

“We will con­tinue to tra­verse the road of de­vel­op­ment be­cause we be­lieve in be­ing the gov­ern­ment of all the peo­ple and not a few cronies,” she said.

Min­is­ter Ally in­formed the House that her min­istry has recog­nised the im­por­tance of good so­cial ser­vices and there­fore has done a lot of work in this area in 2018.

She lauded her gov­ern­ment’s abil­ity to in­crease old age pen­sions by 55% as well as the in­creased pub­lic as­sis­tance since tak­ing of­fice in 2015. Ally did not for­get to men­tion work done on the Palms, the Night Shel­ter, and the Hugo Chavez Cen­tre, the con­struc­tion of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence cen­tres at Whim and On­derneem­ing and com­mence­ment of con­struc­tion of a new Drop-in Cen­tre.

The min­is­ter used the oc­ca­sion to dis­miss state­ments made by the op­po­si­tion mem­bers about lit­tle at­ten­tion be­ing paid to women’s em­pow­er­ment, be­fore list­ing a num­ber of ini­tia­tives from which women ben­e­fited.

Amna Ally

Gail Teix­eira

The glass door to the en­trance of the club house that was shat­tered dur­ing the break-in.

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