–Vice-President reaffirms commitment to public servants
–calls on citizens to reject false narrative by Opposition, anti-gov’t forces
SOME 2,000 residents of Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) have gained employment as part of the government’s part-time job initiative.
In his remarks at an event in Patentia, West Bank Demerara, where the part-time job initiative was discussed, Vice-President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo called on Guyanese to examine the government’s development agenda and pattern, and use the evidence to reject the false narrative being peddled by the Opposition and other anti-government agents that the government is deliberately withholding pay increases for public servants.
Dr. Jagdeo reminded his audience that it was the former APNU+AFC Government that took away the one-month tax-free bonus from the Joint Services, which the PPP/C Administration has since re-implemented.
He said it was the PPP/C Government that redeemed the Public Service from a pauperised state, adding: “… But they can only say that for people who do not know the history of this country, or who are not aware of it, and we need to stand up to this sort of thing.”
The Vice-President made it clear that the PPP/C administration will not allow this sort of thinking by the Opposition to dictate its policies.
“We have a straight and clear ideology, and we have a goal which we outlined in our Manifesto,” Dr. Jagdeo said.
He noted that the PPP/C has committed to providing citizens with world-class education and healthcare; providing job opportunities and ensuring their safety, and the administration has since embarked on that journey over the two years since it has returned to office.
The Vice-President said the development taking place offshore will secure close to 3,000 jobs for residents of West Coast Demerara. He referenced the largest privately-owned wharf that is being constructed north of Vreed-en-Hoop, as well as the government’s investment in the construction of the new Demerara River crossing, and the opening up of land for the development of some 14,000 house lots in the region, among several other major projects.
He said the government is currently making efforts to reclaim approximately 5,000 acres of land that the APNU+AFC gave away for coconut production, which to date has not materialised.
In December 2021, more than 20,000 public servants benefitted from a seven per cent salary increase, coupled with a $400 million bonus for frontline workers.
The PPP/C government has been making significant investments in the country despite the pandemic, and while a large number of persons were laid off around the world during that period, here in Guyana, public servants continued to receive their salaries.
The government has also been taking steps to rectify the irregularities in salary scales across positions in the public sector. Provisions were made in the 2022 budget.
These measures were added to what the government has been doing since assuming office to improve the lives of all Guyanese. The COVID-19 cash grant of $25,000 per household, year-end bonuses in December 2020 for frontline workers and members of the Disciplined Services, an increase in old age pension and public assistance along with the reversal of punitive taxes are just a few of those measures that readily come to mind.
The part-time job initiative, in particular, is part of the PPP/C administration’s efforts to supplement household incomes in light of the rising cost of living.
Speaking with the Sunday Chronicle was one of the beneficiaries of this initiative, a mother of one who commended the effort and expressed hope that other recipients will give of their best in whatever positions they are placed.
“I think it’s a wonderful initiative, and I hope that everyone takes it upon themselves to make a good contribution in whatever work they are placed in,” said 35-year-old Erika Dasrath.
She also commended the officials for taking the time out to meet with those being employed under the initiative and answering whatever questions and concerns they may have.
“This is my first time coming out to a gathering, seeing the Vice-President speak; for me, this was pretty awesome. Some of the information we did not have before we get to understand now,” Dasrath said, adding:
“I liked how we were told we need to develop our community, and our job is not just to go and sit there; that it’s for us to have self-awareness of our community. One of the biggest contributions that they want out of this part-time work is for us to develop our communities, and we have to do that.”
Through the part-time job programme, persons could work for 10 days per month in the respective government agencies and ministries, and earn up to $40,000.
The employees are being placed at various government offices across the region, including health centres, schools and administrative buildings, and will also be involved in community service programmes.
During the event, employees were informed of what is expected of them now that they are government employees.
“They have to serve the community that they are placed in; they have to be courteous to people. They have to work, and deliver. It’s not a handout; it’s employment, so it’s expected that they perform as any other civil servant for the 10 days,” Chairman of the Regional Democratic Council of Region Three, Inshan Ayube related.
Ayube noted that as Chairman of the region, he applauds the government for this initiative, particularly given that the part-time nature of the programme will be ideal for persons who are pursuing academic studies.
“This timely intervention will definitely impact on the lives of a wide cross-section of people. You have young people, and you have middle-aged people; it will set the platform so that they will be able to perform a bit while still continuing to elevate themselves in terms of academics or other trainings that they might want to do,” Mr. Ayube said.
“This programme will enable them to do that, because they will be having access to finance while they develop themselves by pursuing studies. They will be encouraged to continue their studies too,” he added.
Residents also expressed their enthusiasm for the infrastructural developments that will be coming to not just Wales but the entire West Demerara area.
“It’s not so much the part-time or temporary work; is the infrastructure development that will be taking place in this community, and moreso the industries that’s going to be put down in this community. Part-time work is going to be continuing, but people are going to be employed full-time when those institutions are established,” said Mark Khan, Chairman of the Patentia/Toeuvlugt Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC).
He said that when the former Coalition government had closed the Wales Sugar Estate, it left the community in a dire state, but now thanks to the many initiatives being put in place by the PPP/C government, the communities are growing once again.
“The economic problem we would have seen when the Estate closed, we’re starting to see that would have diminished; we start to see a growth in the economics in this community again. Those are areas that we appreciate, and areas we will continue to appreciate,” Khan said.