Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman came out swinging during his budget debate presentation Friday August 21 as he shot down several claims made against the government of denying the school $10,000 cash grant, of trying to muzzle the opposition among others.
In his fiery delivery, the Minister slammed the opposition for spewing misinformation saying that they accused the government of scrapping the $10,000 ‘Because We Care’ cash grant while they themselves had no intention to continue the program.
“One of the benefits of being in government,” Trotman said, is the access to records. Presenting a document dated February 7, 2015 to the House, Tortman said that former Education Minister Priya Manickchand, former Cabinet Secretary Roger Luncheon and others envisioned that the grant would not have been possible this year. Trotman chided the government for chastising them for a program that they themselves were aware would not have been continued.
As the last Speaker of the House, Trotman addressed the issue of limiting the number days for scrutinizing the budget estimates. He said that for the 18 years that he has been in the House, it has been customary that under the former government three days was always given for the budget scrutiny even during his time as Speaker. He said that it was a motion moved by now Minister Carl Greenidge and seconded by Minister Khemraj Ramjattan in the last Parliament that saw the days being moved from three days to five days. He said, “no one was being muzzled,” as the opposition was been claiming. “That is the history and that is the record.”
Trotman went on to slam earlier speaker, opposition member and former Culture Minister Frank Anthony for giving a number of remedies to tackle the health system problems while as a member of the health fraternity he did not offer the same advice to his then government. “He speaks of mobility rate as if it is this government that caused the death, or gave the reputation to the hospitals it now has.”
He then went on to address claims of indiscriminate firing saying that he rejects the notion that to touch anyone is to cleanse or flush them out.” He said in any society firing is a “standard feature” of a changeof government globally and urged persons to go back to history and check the record on this issue.
He concluded that the APNU+AFC welcomes the election petition by the opposition claiming that it will show that the government won the elections by the 4000 votes alleged. He indicated that it is only now that the PPP has lost the election that they realize that GECOM needs reform.
He said though the government accepts their win with the 4000 votes more than the PPP, it is with a heartache they do so because the margin of victory was much wider.