APNU, AFC guilty of an assault on Amerindian people
CUTTING of Amerindian capital budget is an assault on Amerindian people and Hinterland development There is no denying the fact that Amerindian development has been a priority on the list of Guyana’s national development imperatives from the inception of the PPP/C Government. And there is no denying the fact, too, that the government has ensured it delivered on this undertaking, solemnly promised by the great Cheddi Jagan, during his party campaign for national elections in the now historic 1992 poll that resulted in a return to office.
Therefore, the emphatic changes, so evident, particularly with regards the place of the Amerindian in the current national political-social–economic life of our country, can only fill volumes, because of the numerous success stories of a people who had been victims of the most criminal and shameful neglect ever perpetrated on any of Guyana’s people.
Indeed, it is undoubtedly a very significant component of the great transformation that is underway throughout Guyana; so much so, that OBSERVER posits that the rise of the Amerindians ought to be cause for national gladness and great satisfaction of seeing a people, once on the distant fringe of our society, now gradually being integrated in the hallway of nationhood, and participating in the country’s great development process.
In fact, whereas within the public service, the Amerindian presence had, prior to 1992, been negligible, if not non-existent, today they are functioning in every conceivable sphere of professional and official life, from cabinet ministers, military officers and in other sections of the joint services, medical doctors and allied professions, agriculture scientists, engineers and technologists, heads of schools and graduate teachers. A particular commendable and strategic aspect of Amerindian professionalization is that most, on completion of their training/studies, have been returning to give service to their communities.
The reality is that Amerindian development, one of the great successes of the Guyana’s modernisation story, is an ongoing process executed in accordance with the Hinterland Development programme series that is gradually changing the face of Amerindian communities, while impacting life changes among Amerindians.
But despite these incontrovertible facts and evidence of Amerindian development, there are those, shamefully inclusive of the parliamentary Opposition, constantly claiming neglect of the Amerindian, with the A Partnership For National Unity(APNU) leader David Granger, and the Alliance For Change (AFC) Khemraj Ramjattan being among the chief detractors. But OBSERVER will argue that any fair-minded Guyanese, irrespective of party affiliation, will testify to the great strides of Amerindian development. They will also agree that there is still more to be done for these deserving people, as can be evidenced by the continued budgetary investment channeled into socio-economic programmes for Amerindian development – such as the $1.554B allocated in Budget 2014.
It is very basic reasoning that since the Parliamentary Opposition have been accusing the government of neglect, that they would immediately be happy for, and supportive of, allocations directed toward Amerindian development; and that barring scrutiny, that such sums would have been unanimously approved. But then comes the shocker – the combined parliamentary Opposition axed $1.1B of the Amerindian Ministry’s capital budget!
In the name of all sanity, how can such an act, unconscionable and insane, be understood, given the fact that it can only hurt further development for this segment of Guyanese and their communities? What is wrong with funding for the Secure Livelihood and Youth Entrepreneurship that is aimed at the continued transformation of hinterland communities, with the main thrust being economic diversification? What is so wrong with a $796M provision for expanding the Youth Entrepreneurship and Apprenticeship Programme into Regions 2,3, 4,5, and 10? Further, how absurd it is for the Opposition to allege that they disapproved of the funding because of a belief that such will be used for manipulating the Amerindians!
Such excuse, sordid in every detail, ought not to have even been publicised, as it is an insult to the Guyanese people. But it gives the Guyanese another view of the mind-set of this House group calling themselves peoples representatives, whose only quest since the convening of the Tenth Parliament has been to stymie national development.
Where is the thinking of both APNU and the AFC? Surely, one cannot allow the perception that such narrow-minded persons are in the nation’s highest assembly, deciding its affairs! This, OBSERVER contends, is the odious doing of the worst set of parliamentarians who ever sat in that august assembly, without vision, or even the least understanding of what national development aimed at transforming communities and lives is all about.
This is a naked threat to Amerindian development.