For­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Ramo­tar New Year’s Mes­sage

Weekend Mirror - - GETTING IT RIGHT -

I wish to ex­tend best wishes to all Guyanese for the New Year 2017.

The year 2016 was in­deed a very chal­leng­ing one for the Guyanese peo­ple. The gains that were made by our coun­try dur­ing the var­i­ous terms that the PPP/C gov­ern­ment was in of­fice are be­ing eroded by the PNC-led APNU+AFC regime.

These re­ver­sals will be­gin to im­pact heav­ily on the qual­ity of life of all Guyanese in 2017. The ad­di­tion of 14% VAT on es­sen­tial food items (which were zero-rated by the PPP/C ad­min­is­tra­tion) will cer­tainly im­pact on the cost of liv­ing.

VAT charges on wa­ter and elec- tric­ity bills are also go­ing to im­pact heav­ily on or­di­nary Guyanese peo­ple and on busi­nesses.

The adding of VAT on ma­chin­ery and equip­ment in the agri­cul­ture and min­ing sec­tors will in­crease the cost of pro­duc­tion, re­sult­ing in a neg­a­tive im­pact on com­pet­i­tive­ness with other busi­nesses.

These can lead to more dis­missals of our workers. Dur­ing 2016, hun­dreds of per­sons lost their jobs in the sugar and forestry sec­tors and in 2017, more per­sons will be dis­missed.

With no pol­icy be­ing im­ple­mented by the regime to as­sist these in­dus­tries, we can ex­pect these prob­lems to grow.

All sec­tions of our so­ci­ety must ex­press their views pub­licly and op­pose the anti-worker, anti-busi­ness and gen­er­ally anti- peo­ple bud­get mea­sures by this regime in the com­ing year.

We must to­gether de­fend our democ­racy, strug­gle to main­tain open­ness and free speech in Guyana.

These are es­sen­tial to so­cial and eco­nomic progress in our coun­try.

While we take some time off to wel­come the new year, let us re­solve to work to­gether to­wards a bet­ter and safer Guyana.

Happy New year to the Guyanese na­tion!!

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