Last Updated on Tuesday, 6 December 2016, 16:58 by Denis Chabrol
Minister of State Joseph Harmon is convinced that the ‘doom and gloom’ positions take on Budget 2017 is a result of scare tactics used by the Opposition PPP, that is reflective on similar tactics used on the Anti-Money Laundering legislation in the last Parliament.
“Complaints by the Opposition that the budget is murderous, would lead to suicide and other forms of violence portrays an Opposition mindset that is a rebellion against order,” Minister Harmon told the National Assembly in his budget presentation.
The Minister said Budget 2017 presents a “continuum of the programmes and policies which started in 2015 aimed at strengthening institutions and restoring confidence.”
“We have an opposition that had this country in a state of lawlessness,” he said, “the disregard for results are on the road!”
Harmon went on to explain what he perceives as corruption in the Traffic Department of the Guyana Police Force. “Granting of licenses to persons who were not qualified” but gave “top-ups” of officials, Minister Harmon said, adding that the present road carnage on the road correlates to this corruption.
“Guyanese people have become accustomed to scare tactics of the PPP,” Harmon noted, “and they are aware that the PPP has always and continues to utilise fear as an element of control of their dwindling support-base.”
Harmon said the PPP is hoping to build its support base in time for its upcoming Congress next week, where new party leaders will be voted on, and the party will decide its way forward.
“Guyanese people recall similar language on the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism bill in the Tenth Parliament,” Harmon warned about the Opposition PPP while they were in government.
“They mobilised the same choir boys that we hear singing about this budget,” Harmon warned to loud support coming from the government benches in the House. “It was doom and gloom if the Opposition at that time did not agree to the PPP provisions in the bill.”
“All across the country, they went about scaring people,” Harmon continued, “telling them business will shut down, no monies will come in, families abroad can’t bring money for you, contractors can’t walk around with more than US$10,000 to pay workers because provisions under law was making it possible for a senior police officer to seize their money.”
“PPP and the small c,” is a part that has been known to raise the specter of violence to gather-in the flock. And now, it is no different that they are attempting to vilify a well-written budget for their narrow political agenda.”
Harmon said the budget brings President David Granger’s Green Economy from concept to a reality. He outlined a number of measures that will help to shift Guyana into achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
“I’m sorry the time is so short because the green pathway is such a pathway that you can speak on it for a very long time,” Harmon said to the sounds of laughter in the House. Speaker of the House, Dr Barton Scotland jokingly asked the Minister not to engage on that particular issue today.