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Volda Lawrence sticks to position on jobs but avoids controversial remarks on preference for supporters; upset about little political work in PPP strongholds

President David Granger and Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence.

Chairwoman of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR),Volda Lawrence on Thursday stood by her position on the need to create jobs, but stayed clear of reiterating that preference would be given to supporters of her party.

“Cde. Volda Lawrence Chairman of the People’s National Congress Reform stands by her views on the issue of jobs and unemployment that measures are being put in place for the young and industrious to be afforded the opportunity of becoming self employed or gaining meaningful employment,” she said a statement.

Volda’s statement on Thursday came against the background of some criticisms and even condemnation of her and her party about remarks she made last Sunday  at the PNCR’s Region Four District Conference that some party members were afraid of awarding contracts and giving jobs to party supporters as if their organisation had still been in opposition. Speaking for herself, she said all her friends are PNCR and they would be getting jobs.

“The only friends I got is PNC so the only people I gon give wuk to is PNC and right now I looking for a doctor who can talk Spanish or Portuguese and ah want one that is PNC,” said Lawrence who is also Minister of Public Health.

In responding to critics, Lawrence said she “stood by her views that Comrades must educate and position themselves to be in the 20% bracket that will be afforded Government contracts.” “Cde. Lawrence also stands by her views that we must  become bi-lingual as the world is now smaller and Guyana fast becoming a haven to people from countries near and far. Cde. Lawrence emphasized that if the Coalition wants to remain in power after 2020 we must take better care of all Guyanese,” she said.

Lawrence had also urged her party’s largely Afro-Guyanese  supporters last Sunday to extend their reach to non-traditional supporters, while suggesting to  them that the People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) strategy had included putting up candidates who did not look like them. On Thursday, she said as a mixed Guyanese she is often concerned when PPP strongholds are neglected. “On the issue of attracting support from non traditional bases and emphasized that she was a Guyanese with mixed heritage and it irked her when she gets reports that little or no work is being done in perceived strongholds of the People’s Progressive Party Civic. The Chairman stated we must bring everyone in whether they looked like her or not,” she said.

In the statement, the PNCR General Secretary restated that there were no camps between Joseph Harmon and Basil Williams, who had contested for the post of Chairmanship but one camp led by party leader David Arthur Granger. The Chairman also called for an end to the complaining saying if we project negativity then we would not be able to influence others. The Chairman stated that Government has made it possible for everyone to get a chance at succeeding in their endeavors by giving small contractors 20% of Government contracts. “The playing field is now level for all Guyanese the Chairman iterated,” she added.

Lawrence reflected on the number of complaints she had received of leaders who did not put in the work and the feeling of neglect amongst party cadres and stated categorically this must not be!

Lawrence reminded Guyanese people of “many successes of the Coalition Government” over the past three years.

(i) increased public servants salaries by 37%
(ii) reduced the PPP imposed VAT from 16% to 14%
(iii) passed the Telecommunications Bill
(iv) restored decency and cleanliness to Georgetown
(v) held Local Government Elections
(vi) restored law and order
(vii) established the Public Procurement Commission
(viii) increased Old Age Pension by over 50% from $13,125 to $21,000 now proposed to be over 22,000
(ix) increased minimum wage from $39,540 to $55,000 now proposed to be $64,200
(x) increased the tax threshold from $50,000 to $60,000
(xi) built and resurfaced roads and bridges all across Guyana?
(xii) restored A credible international image to Guyana
(xiii) robustly defended Guyana’s territorial integrity
(xiv) passed the Anti-Money Laundering/Counter-Terrorism Act
(xv) established three new towns
(xvi) opened hinterland community radio stations
(xvii) reduced the Berbice Bridge toll
(xviii)Improved potable water access and reliability
(xviiii) Installed pedestrian overpasses
(xxvii)Built Kitty roundabout