‘Judge for yourselves’

First Lady, Sandra Granger

…First Lady makes strong pitch for President’s re-election
…says Guyana has come a long way since election of coalition

“We both believe that the people of Guyana deserve the best life they can have. If they look back these past four years they would recognise how far they’ve come and how far they can go,” Mrs Granger said during an interview on The Political Show, on Kaieteur Radio, on Wednesday.

FIRST Lady Sandra Granger called for Guyanese to have a vision that is beyond partisan politics, to think wisely and vote for a government that will look after the community needs of the people and ensure that they get the best for their dollar.
The restoration of the local government system, and grassroots programmes such as the David G 5Bs initiative, the increase of old age pension, as well as improved investments in health, education and other social services, were some of the programmes that she noted as having directly impacted communities for the better.

Ms. Granger emphasised that she shares in her husband’s, President David Granger’s, dream of a good life for all. “We both believe that the people of Guyana deserve the best life they can have. If they look back these past four years they would recognise how far they’ve come and how far they can go,” Mrs Granger said during an interview on The Political Show, on Kaieteur Radio, on Wednesday.

“I’ve heard people complaining that the David G buses only go on the main road and say ‘I live down in the street and if they don’t come to pick up my child at home I’m not voting’. Where’s the logic? You had nothing before and now you have a bus transporting your child safely to and from school. And even in the most developed country it doesn’t stop at your home… it goes to a corner and you have to find yourself at that corner,” she pointed out. Defending her husband’s track record since becoming President in May 2015, Ms. Granger shared that: “This government has only been in office for less than five years… be reasonable, things are happening. It may not have gotten everything perfect but the coalition has tried to improve the lives of people.”

She called on persons not to be swayed by partisan media coverage, but to judge the situation for themselves and vote accordingly when General and Regional Elections come on March 2, 2020. “Look at what people are saying. Look at what has been done in the past four and a half years, look at the opposition over the previous 23 years but you have to be present. You have to exercise your right, and it is your duty to vote and make the right decision for yourself and your children,” she advocated.
President Granger took over the presidency when the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) coalition won the 2015 elections, unseating the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC), which governed for 23 years prior.

Opposition non-cooperation
When asked if she thought that enough was done to effect cooperation between the government and the opposition, Mrs Granger called out instances where the opposition was purposefully uncooperative. “You can’t complain if you don’t participate. How many parliamentary committees did not meet because people didn’t turn up? How many boards have not had the presence of the opposition members on those boards?” she questioned.
The instances were not only relegated to instances of the politicians being uncooperative in parliament and constitutional organisations.

Notwithstanding the restoration of the local government system to Guyana after an almost two-decade hiatus, many Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs), which are a part of the local government system, are still to realise their true potential. In some cases there has been purposeful resistance against development efforts by some of the opposition-aligned councils. The situation has also been prevalent at the level of the Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs). “They will not work with the coalition members for the benefit of the communities. They stymie development to say that nothing is happening. Doing nothing,” Mrs Granger asserted.

Notwithstanding the resistance, much has been done. Aside from the developments of local government Mrs Granger emphasised the areas of health and education, saw pivotal developments over the past four years.
“We are seeing the availability in the region of medical services that were not there before. You go to the maternity ward at GPHC and there’s a difference from 2015 and 2019. They have the hot meals programme in schools and they’re trying to expand it. The parents in many instances do not have the burden of paying transportation to get their children to school. I have to commend the citizens of Guyana and corporate bodies that have donated these things,” the First Lady expressed.

Poverty alleviation
When questioned about how she feels about the poverty encountered during the campaign trail with husband and what she thinks can be done for the country’s poor, Ms. Granger responded ”they have already started to fix it”. “Dealing with instances of poverty, if you look at what is happening, the government has started to look at the social impact on our children, our people’s development,” she related.

She reminded that when the APNU+AFC came into office in 2015, the government was faced with an uphill task of development deficits and limited resources. “We have to remember a government has to focus on its human resources as well as material. It had to pay several judgements made under the previous government to international companies. And that was a huge drain on the resources of this country before they can start looking at what they could do. We have to do better but we have to have resources to improve,” she said.

Because of that, she pointed out that the government had to carefully go about allocating resources, noting: “You’re seeing improvements but it’s not a jack in the box where everything pops out… you have to assess… you have to analyse, look at the resources you have, project the resources you need.”

She emphasized the need for more social programmes that target groups such as the elderly, and at risk youths in the communities, and believes that with the resources from the oil and gas sector more social programmes can be implemented.