To sustain and consolidate socio-economic gains… Renewed mandate needed to move Guyana forward – President

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President Donald Ramotar

THE foundation for a “brighter tomorrow” for all Guyanese has been laid, but given the political conditions the current Administration will be seeking a renewed mandate through early general and regional elections, to allow the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic Government to sustain and consolidate the gains made.

President Donald Ramotar underscored these points in his New Year message to the Guyanese people last night, stressing that a “clear mandate” will be needed to move the country and its people forward.
He said: “A clear mandate will be needed. Given political conditions, I anticipate that my Guyanese brothers and sisters will be called upon in the near future to exercise the choice that will be so critical to determining the path our country will follow in the years to come.
“…With an Opposition that has displayed a remarkable anti-developmental tendency it is important that we regain the majority in the National Assembly to ensure continued social and economic progress.”

“A clear mandate will be needed. Given political conditions, I anticipate that my Guyanese brothers and sisters will be called upon in the near future to exercise the choice that will be so critical to determining the path our country will follow in the years to come.” – President Donald Ramotar

The Head of State expressed confidence that the Guyanese people will choose the path of progress.
“The future of our country will be decided by the manner in which that choice is made, whether our country is to continue to progress in the way it has in recent years or whether it is to regress to the dark days of the past. I have every confidence that the Guyanese people will choose the path of progress,” he said.

“With an Opposition that has displayed a remarkable anti-developmental tendency, it is important that we regain the majority in the National Assembly to ensure continued social and economic progress.” – President Donald Ramotar

A GOVERNMENT’S PLEDGE
Mr. Ramotar also reiterated his Government’s pledge to the Guyanese people; one that has to date resulted in improved livelihoods.
“We will continue to invest heavily in the physical infrastructure that is so critical to creating jobs and improving livelihoods,” he stressed.
The President added that his Government’s priorities remain:

“At the heart of all these developments will be our aim to improve the quality of life enjoyed by every Guyanese citizen. Opportunities will be created for every person.” – President Donald Ramotar

* Continued expansion of the roads and bridges network to ensure greater access to Guyana’s geographic neighbours, including the Corentyne River Bridge and the road from Brazil;
* Improved ease of movement within Guyana’s borders by upgrading the major hinterland arteries and widening major coastal highways;
* Focus on rehabilitating and upgrading of urban and community roads will continue apace, all with the aim of improving access;
* Universal access in the social sector– education, health and water – and improving service quality and delivery;
* Investments to ensure that communities are safer and that crime-fighting and prevention capabilities are strengthened, in addition to relevant legislative reforms, as well as upgrading of capacity in the Police Force, stronger use of technology and forensic science; and
* Achievement of more affordable and more reliable energy, via the Amaila Falls hydropower project, which within months is expected to begin soon;
Mr. Ramotar said: “At the heart of all these developments will be our aim to improve the quality of life enjoyed by every Guyanese citizen. Opportunities will be created for every person to find gainful employment, and to acquire the skills necessary to take up those opportunities. Amongst the initiatives we will pursue, is the aim of achieving universal computer literacy, ensuring that each and every one person can assume their rightful place in the modern technology-driven world.”
He underscored too that efforts continue to be made to improve the economic environment, including undertakings to make Guyana an even more attractive place for doing business, and to incentivise investors to establish and expand operations here.
“This will help to grow our economy, broaden our revenue base, improve our fiscal capacity to meet the needs of our people, and reinforce our economic resilience,” the President opined.

“At no time did the Opposition seek to use the one- seat majority in Parliament to demand of us to do more for our people. On the contrary, they moved in every way to stop progress and to cut funds for development.” – President Donald Ramotar

MUCH TO BE DESIRED POLITICALLY
The Head of State bemoaned the fact that Guyana’s socio-economic gains have not been matched in the political area – leaving much to be desired.
“This is most disappointing,” he said, “In my message on the occasion of the beginning of 2012, I had pointed to the great benefits that can accrue to our people by having greater cooperation of the parties in Parliament.”
However, Mr. Ramotar stressed that he did not find “receptive ears” in the parliamentary Opposition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC).
“I had also pointed to the dangers of not doing so. Then, I warned that ‘…to try to make deals or to gang up against one partner, when we should be working for consensus, can be counter-productive for it will continue to breed suspicion and mistrust. We should be working together to find common ground in the interest of our people’,” he said.
Mr. Ramotar highlighted that at “every turn” the combined Opposition has stymied the growth and development of Guyana.
“At no time did the Opposition seek to use the one-seat majority in Parliament to demand of us to do more for our people. On the contrary, they moved in every way to stop progress and to cut funds for development,” he said.
The President cited the slashing of the Amerindian Development Fund. Moreover, University of Guyana loans, funds for major developmental projects and important infrastructure, as examples of opportunities lost by APNU and AFC to deliver improved livelihoods for the Guyanese people.
These challenges he repeated, were what led to his decision to prorogue Parliament, with the intent to facilitate dialogue to break the political gridlock.
‘The Opposition has spurned my attempts to discuss these issues and in their customary manner have rejected my invitation to dialogue. Clearly, we can’t continue in this way,” he said.
Mr. Ramotar repeated that Guyana needs a renewed mandate to ensure that the progress started by the PPP/C two decades ago continues.

IMPACTS OF 2014
The President recognised that the happenings of 2014 will undoubtedly impact on 2015, but expressed confidence in the Guyanese people to overcome whatever challenges that lie ahead.
“The outgoing year, 2014, was indeed very eventful and [was] marked with both significant gains and major challenges. Many of the events that occurred in the just concluded year will impact on developments in this new year. I have no doubt in my mind that we will overcome the challenges, and we will continue to advance our all-round gains and improve the quality of life of our people,” he said.
He referred to the demonstrations of strength and resilience in the face of major challenges in the past and made clear that his optimism for the future is grounded in the fact that this history has moulded the character of the Guyanese people.
“We must now use this eternal optimism and strength that our fore-parents displayed to continue to forge ahead in the face of the many challenges that are posed due to both international and local events,” Mr. Ramotar said.
The Head of State also wished the Guyanese people, home and abroad, the best for 2015.

(By Vanessa Narine)