–Teixeira assures US Congressmen
MINISTER of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira, has underscored that the people’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Government is committed to governing Guyana in the interest of all Guyanese as outlined in its 2020 elections manifesto.
Minister Teixeira was, at the time, reacting to comments from US Congressman, Hank Johnson, who, in a statement on Wednesday, said Guyana’s wealth is for all the people of Guyana, irrespective of their ethnicity.
“I urge the current government and leaders of the opposition in the National Assembly to work together towards further strengthening Guyana’s democracy and building a more inclusive nation,” he said.
Albio Sires, Chairman of Congressional sub-committee on the Western Hemisphere, had also made a similar call.
“In Guyana, where I travelled this year, we should work to ensure that proceeds of oil revenues benefit the entire population,” online news outlet, Demerara Waves, on Wednesday quoted him as saying.
Teixeira, in a brief statement, said the government embraces the calls of the US Congressmen.
“We have been saying this all the time. In fact, the manifesto of the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic, during the election campaign and the programme we have brought out since, is focussing on making sure Guyanese benefit not only from the oil money but from the development of our nation, the modernisation and expansion of our economic space,” she said.
According to Minister Teixeira, since assuming office 10 months ago, all government programmes, from the COVID-19 cash grant to the increasing of the cash care programme for children and the school uniform programme across Guyana, have benefitted all Guyanese.
She also pointed out that Article 13 of the Constitution talks about parliamentary democracy and participatory democracy, and the PPP Government embraces these principles.
YEARS OF NEGLECT
Since coming into government, she noted that programmes, including those on poverty reduction, the opening up of housing programmes and water systems where they were not there before, the development of Amerindian areas in particular, as well as other villages that were neglected under the APNU+AFC Government, are being addressed and at a rapid pace.
“In fact, the party that is guilty of discrimination that keeps hollering about discrimination is in fact the party that was in government for five years that refused to obey the rulings of the courts, not only in Guyana but the Caribbean Court of Justice in respect to holding elections after the no-confidence motion,” she pointed out.
On December 18, 2018, the David Granger-government was toppled by a no-confidence motion and elections were not held three months after as mandated by the Constitution. Elections were eventually held on March 2, 2020, after a series of court rulings against the then government.
And following the elections, Guyanese had to wait five months for the declaration of the results after a series of attempts by officials at GECOM, who enjoyed the support of members of the APNU+AFC government, failed to derail the democratic process.
The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance also noted that the APNU+AFC which was responsible for holding Guyana back, is now saying that they do not recognise the elected PPP/C Government as the legitimate Government of Guyana.
FIRING OF THOUSANDS
The same APNU+AFC Government, she said, had rampantly discriminated against Guyanese when they dismissed more than 1,000 Amerindian community service officers and over 7,000 sugar workers.
Teixeira further pointed out that during the APNU+AFC’s tenure in office, thousands more lost their jobs, including public servants (approximately 2,000) because of either the colour of their skin or their perceived political affiliations.
“We have witnessed this in the five years and will not allow that to happen again in our country. We have no issue with the calls by the two gentlemen (US Congressman) in relation to all Guyanese benefitting, we are committed to the Sustainable Development Goals, Article 13 of our Constitution, we are committed to the constitutional rule of law and participatory democracy, but it cannot be the rules of those (APNU+AFC) who refuse to accept democracy and those (APNU+AFC) who do not accept the will of the people of our country who elected the PPP. We will not be bullied; we have been bullied for over five years,” she said, stressing that the government looks forward to the APNU+AFC taking a matured political position by recognising the PPP/C as the legitimate Government of Guyana, opening up opportunity for dialogue on a number of issues in Guyana.
“We wish to assure our friends in the United States that we are committed,” said Teixeira, noting that the commitment is registered in the PPP/C’s 2020 manifesto and in the programmes of the government since assuming office amid a pandemic, in which the former government did little for the people.
Congressman Johnson, in his statement, also spoke about the flooding in Guyana.
“I am following closely the catastrophic floods in Guyana and my thoughts and prayers are with the Guyanese people during this extremely difficult time. Guyana has experienced substantial economic growth in recent years, but the COVID-19 pandemic and this national emergency threaten to erode some of those gains. It is important that every person affected by this disaster is able to receive the support they need to rebuild their lives in the shortest possible time. As a longtime friend of Guyana, I stand ready to work with international partners to support Guyana in the face of this devastating challenge,” he said.
Since the start of the flood due to heavy rainfall, the government has distributed thousands of hampers to communities severely affected, regardless of who voted for the PPP/C or their ethnicity, Teixeira said.