Minister Walrond calls out Coalition for ‘radicalising and racialising’ budget debate
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Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond
Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond

— says PPP/C administration is about inclusive governance

By Isaiah Braithwaite

TOURISM, Industry, and Commerce Minister Oneidge Walrond on Wednesday called out the coalition opposition for “radicalising and racialising” the budget debate which is supposed to be about policy. Minister Walrond said the PPP/C administration is about inclusive governance, regardless of race.
Citing herself as an example, the minister noted that her family’s connection to the People’s National Congress was no secret. Growing up, the minister said it was the only philosophy she knew. “Yet the leaders of the PPP/C when considering what their government will look like and who should have a say in defining and implementing its policies, chose me despite the political connections of my family and despite the fact that I had never before even dreamed of being involved in politics. This, Mr. Speaker, speaks to the core and the DNA of a President, a party and a philosophy that cannot credibly be held out to be racist and non-inclusive,” the minister stated during her presentation in support of Budget 2021.

Minister Walrond said her appointment is not just “window dressing,” and slammed the opposition for describing Afro-Guyanese under the government as tokens. The prime minister, along with the Ministers of Labour, Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, is testament to the PPP/C administration’s inclusiveness. “Mr. Speaker, people can examine for themselves how portfolios were assigned under the APNU+AFC government. I don’t have to delve into their record, it is there and speaks for itself. Suffice it to say Mr. Speaker, as a person new to politics, my own responsibilities are far in excess of those that the previous administration sought to confer even on their prime minister,” Minister Walrond said.

Members of the opposition were also cautioned for their use of the term “ethnic cleansing,” which she said was being wielded with reckless disregard for social cohesion. The minister said the term was coined to describe the thousands who were killed and forcibly removed from their homeland during the brutal Balkan Wars. She said the opposition was trivialising the term to gain political advantage.
The opposition has employed the loaded term in reference to workers who were let go or who departed the Public Service after the PPP/C assumed office last August.
But Minister Walrond noted that those let go were individuals who openly indicated they were opposed to working with the PPP/C administration under any circumstance.

“Some of these public servants were captured on camera praying and referring to anyone outside of their ‘chosen political circle’ as ‘devils.’” Some said that the PPP/C were rigging the elections. Others said that any PPP/C administration would be illegitimate under any circumstances. Some said they had no intention nor inclination to work with a PPP/C government. These sentiments were not hidden Mr. Speaker. They were openly and bluntly expressed and, in some cases, unrelenting in their frequency,” the minister said. Minister Walrond pointed out that many of the persons who were politically affiliated to the coalition, were not content to do the job. Instead, they were determined to be obstructionist to stymie the work of the government. The minister questioned how such persons could be relied upon to implement the agenda of the government.

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