A very poor budget presentation
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Dear Editor,

AFTER observing the second day’s budget debate, it is unfortunate that I have to write this letter in an attempt to share my thoughts on some of the disturbing comments I heard from Tabitha Sarabo-Halley during her presentation. To begin, it should be noted that the very “rancid rhetoric” which she was referring to in the introductory part of her speech does not even concern the PPP/C government, but rather the APNU+AFC coalition. It was the opposition that continues every single day to waste time on making racist statements which offer absolutely no context to their speeches that are supposed to be on the budget and the policies therein.

It is rather unfortunate that amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, which should be one of the main foci of every single government official, that Sarabo-Halley came to parliament, UNPREPARED, and delivered a speech riddled with inaccuracies. She noted that the PPP has absolutely no plan but to wait for a Covid-19 vaccine for its citizens. She even went further to say that the budget does not even cater for these vaccines. The fact that she even said this brings me to ask, did she even read the budget? If so, did she overlook Paragraph 4.113 which states that $750 million has been allocated to support the rolling out of COVID-19 vaccines?

Additionally, Tabitha Sarabo-Halley mentioned in her speech that Guyanese continue to witness annihilation of the Public Service and public agencies. My question to this is HOW? In case she is to be reminded, it was the APNU+AFC who compromised the framework of the entire Public Service when they entered office in 2015. For example, the establishment of the Bertram Collins College of the Public Service served little to no purpose, but affected the Public Service framework. Graduates of the college were placed in public agencies as Accounts Clerk IIIs. They received higher salaries than those of Accounts Clerk IIs. However, as they entered these agencies, they simply could not perform as expected.

It is a fact that these Clerk IIIs had to be trained by the very Clerk IIs that are below them. With that being the reality, I ask the question, what the purpose of the training college was if it could not even train these students properly so that they can function effectively as they entered the Public Service. This is a clear example of a visionless approach by the APNU+AFC, which compromised the Public Service and the public agencies. I end by saying that Tabitha Sarabo-Halley’s speech yesterday was disturbing to listen to as a right-minded Guyanese. It does not go unnoticed that the APNU+AFC coalition continues to approach this budget as a political gimmick and something to bash simply because it was not their brainchild. This shows that they are not focused on the well-being of all Guyanese, but rather on painting the budget in a negative light as much as they can. Tabitha Sarabo-Halley’s speech was a clear indication of such.

Yours truly,

Attiya Baksh

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