–Minister McCoy says in challenge to opposition’s criticisms
MINISTER with responsibility for Public Affairs, Kwame McCoy, on Monday, underscored that having money is not just about spending it, but it is also about prudent management, which is reflected in how the government is utilising the oil and gas resources in Budget 2023 to bring benefits to all Guyanese.
There was no hesitation from Minister McCoy in his defence of Budget 2023 during day one of the debates in the National Assembly.
“It’s not about how much money we have, it is not just about having money and spending it. We have got to be prudent in our management and that is what you’re going to get and can expect from this side of the house,” Minister McCoy said.
Speaking after Opposition Member of Parliament, Amanza Walton-Desir, McCoy reassured the House that the government’s side will explain to Guyanese what the allocation of resources in the budget will mean for the country and its citizens.
While this is the government’s thrust, he accused the political opposition of once again using the debates to regurgitate cliché rhetoric about race baiting.
“In the just two short years that they have been here, that is all they bring to this august House, a cacophony of poisonous spews.
“Our proud, intelligent and ambitious citizenry which is excitingly engaged with our national transformation process, all they will be hearing over the next few days from the opposition benches are the unintelligible utterances like road doesn’t reflect development,” Minister McCoy challenged.
He said the government’s side will present a comprehensive analysis of Budget 2023, with pellucid explanations of the fiscal programmes and measures that leverage the oil and gas sector to create a sustainable development paradigm for 2030 and beyond.
“Through the debate, Guyanese will see the government explain to citizens how Guyana’s consecutive double digit annual growth translates into real term development,” McCoy said.
Pointing to the work the government has been doing in the infrastructure, housing, social, and agriculture sectors as just a few examples, Minister McCoy clapped back against Walton-Desir’s accusations of reckless spending.
He noted that: “I don’t know that the money allocated to pension increase is reckless. The money allocated to the school grant is reckless? To education and health is reckless? Money allocated to road and bridges are reckless, the gas the power project, the Harbor Bridge, how could these truthfully be described as reckless spending.
And so it really bothers me when I hear the [Opposition] speak these things and expect that all of Guyana will accept all of their nonsensical arguments and reasoning.”
Walton-Desir had commended the government on the return and increase of the “Because We Care” cash grant, which is given out to each school child in the public and private school system.
The shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation also commended the government on the work being done at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in Guyana’s fight to secure its territorial integrity against contentions from Venezuela.
“We are saying that we will support all of the endeavours of this government that are geared towards preserving our territorial integrity. I want to put on record or gratitude to the bipartisan team who late last year made some excellent submissions to the ICJ. Their submissions in my view where impenetrable so we look forward to victory not only for international law but for the people of Guyana,” Walton-Desir said.
However, on her accusation of the government not being in touch with the cost of living situation in Guyana, Minister McCoy responded that through the hundreds of community engagements that Cabinet has been having over the past two and a half years, the government has been crafting measures that directly address the needs of Guyanese, including as it relates to the rising cost of living being caused by issues on the global market.
“We have been finding solutions for the people whether it be cost of living, climate change, or any issue that affect any part of our country. We move around that is why we are familiar with the issues because people meet us and they keep us informed, up to date and engaged on all of these issues,” the minister said.
McCoy accused the opposition of professing to have much love for the Guyanese people, but having failed to tangibly display this love when they had the opportunity to do so, particularly during its time in government from 2015 to 2020.
“We have never had in this country a more responsive government than the people’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) government. We have never had in this country a government that have been moving things for people like the PPP/C government,” Minister McCoy said
He added: “In five years [under the APNU+AFC government] the ordinary man had no house a lots, and they were always about wanting to develop people, and we love people and we love everyone… you never collectively demonstrated true love for Guyanese people.”
Minister McCoy: “I don’t know that the money allocated to pension increase is reckless. The money allocated to the school grant is reckless? To education and health is reckless? Money allocated to road and bridges are reckless, the gas the power project, the Harbor Bridge, how could these truthfully be described as reckless spending. And so it really bothers me when I hear the [Opposition] speak these things and expect that all of Guyana will accept all of their nonsensical arguments and reasoning.”