Two hours into the debates for Budget 2016 and the heckles and loud laughter from Parliamentarians were evident as both sides of the House erupted at different points.
Regional Opposition MP Michael Carrington rose to speak on the Budget stating that development in Guyana is evident to those who have sight.
“I am seeing development all over Guyana. The only person can’t see development they have to be blind…The reality is over the years is over the years we continue to have very high bank interests if you have high bank interests then it makes it very difficult for you to pay your loans,” said Carrington.
His remark was met with loud bouts of laughter from the MP’s on the Opposition benches who sat with a look of befuddlement on their faces.
Carrington went on to stated that the APNU+AFC government inherited a system that does not protect financial borrowers and this needs to be rectified.
Regardless he stated that after the Government expends the 2016 Budget pegged at $230B “Guyana will blossom.”
Opposition MP Joseph Hamilton speaking after Carrington questioned whether the good life promised by the APNU+AFC would be made available to the citizenry via budget 2016.
“Where is the bake and salt fish? Where is the pepper pot? Where is the curry? I kept looking for the bake and salt fish for the poor people…it was elusive for the ordinary people,” he stated.
Hamilton said that despite his best efforts all he could find would “sada roti and baigan choka.”
He opined that most of the budget measures will make the lower middle class poor and the poor poorer.
“In the budget there are no meet on bones for young people…This budget is what I call I vampire budget.
It is clear to citizens that the government will be sucking the life out of the poor and the powerless,” said Hamilton.
He went on to criticize government’s plans to review the tax on alcohol stating that lower taxes will encourage more alcohol use.
“The cheaper the spirits is more spirits will be drank…there will be more drinking of spirits,” he said adding “the consideration was not the Guyanese people, the consideration was not the public health system. The consideration was the lobbying of political investors.”
However it should be noted that the Finance Minister has indicated that there will be a review of the taxes levied on alcohol. It has been reported that the higher the alcohol content of a beverage, the more taxes it will attract.