Dr Jagdeo calls out opposition’s ‘lazy’ approach to 2024 budget debates

General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo has expressed his disappointment at the opposition members of parliament’s lack of a profound or studied approach to the 2024 budget debates.

The GS said that this predictable rhetoric represents the hollowness of their analytical capabilities, exposing their inexperience in the budgetary process.

General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

“I think most people in this country expected the opposition’s initial reaction to remain the main criticism of the budget. So, it is very difficult for me to get into a technical defence of the budget when all we are hearing is cronyism, racism…this is the usual sort of thing,” he told reporters at his weekly press conference at Freedom House on Thursday.

Examining the composition of the parliamentary opposition, Dr Jagdeo pointed out that this makeup is indicative of a group devoid of the political experience and expertise required to provide solid criticisms.

“None of them have participated in a very serious way in preparing a budget before. I don’t think a single one of them has ever participated in preparing a budget. And secondly, 99 per cent of them have never had any major policy experience. They never held positions where serious policy was discussed in the past,” the GS noted.

Dr Jagdeo’s statements come against the backdrop of the ongoing national debates on the 2024 budget, which sees the opposition resorting to their usual diatribe of racism, and an overly exorbitant amount of spending on infrastructure in their assessment of the $1.146 trillion fiscal plan.  

Claims of the budget’s provisions being slated to benefit only the ‘friends, family, and favourites’ of the PPP/C government, as well as that it holds nothing for the ordinary Guyanese were some of the overarching themes of many of the opposition MPs’ presentations.  

According to the GS, constructive criticism and an educated assessment of the plan cannot be expected from this opposition, as they lack the necessary insight into several distinguishing factors.

“This doesn’t happen overnight. It comes with experience and it comes with also understanding the nature of the economy, the dynamics of the international community. You also have to craft a budget to address both variables – the country’s position in the world, and its interaction with the rest of the world, and the realities of the economy in Guyana, and ensuring that the measures in the budget take account of those realities. We can’t get that from this opposition,” he explained.