Gov’t delivering holistic, people-centred development agenda – Prime Minister Phillips

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d), the Honourable Mark Phillips, Thursday afternoon said the government is delivering a holistic development plan that will benefit all Guyanese.

The Honourable Prime Minister made the statement in the National Assembly during his remarks defending motions that were tabled for the amendment of the External Loans Bill and the Public Loan Bill.

The order, which was tabled by the Senior Minister within the Ministry of the Presidency with Responsibility for Finance, the Honourable Dr Ashni Singh, is intended to support the government’s national transformative agenda, delivering improved quality of life to all Guyanese and facilitate an increase of the debt ceiling.

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips

Prime Minister Phillips detailed the people-centred development plan that the PPP/C administration has embarked on, emphasising the need for increased infrastructure to meet the accelerated development that is currently taking place.

“We have a holistic plan that we have been delivering to the people of Guyana. We are a people-centred government.”

He highlighted several major developmental programs being funded through loans and external funding, including the Gas to Energy Project and the transmission and distribution system for the supply of improved electricity to the Demerara/Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS); the $17.6b hinterland poor and remote communities’ connectivity project; ICT Access and eServices for Hinterland communities, Poor and Remote Communities Project which is expected to see 100 new installations by year-end, 30,000 solar home systems’ project; Rehabilitative works to the Linden-Soesdyke Highway, etc.

“When we talk about the monies we want to borrow and its bad economics, remember the people. Everything that we do on this side, every loan is for improving the lives and livelihoods of all the people of Guyana.”

Prime Minister Phillips noted that through these initiatives and the prudent management of the economy, as promised in the PPP/C ‘s manifesto, Guyanese are experiencing accelerated development.

He noted, too, that the APNU/AFC failed to deliver to the nation.

“In our manifesto, we promised to the people that once we are victorious in 2020, the development will come for all the people regardless of if you voted for us. We have unleashed a program of development that has taken Guyana by storm. Unfortunately, the entire opposition cannot keep abreast with what is happening around them. But those who have eyes to see will see, and those who have ears to hear will hear. The people are seeing, and the people are hearing, and the people have started to ignore you [The Opposition].”

The Honourable Prime Minister highlighted the progress made by his administration in the recent Local Government Elections. He pointed out that even former strongholds of APNU/PNC have now supported his government, citing Linden as an example.

“You squatted in government for five years, and you did nothing for the people of Linden, the highway to Linden, the main artery to Linden. You did nothing to address it. We are addressing it here with a loan. The bridge you had a dream of, and we are implementing it. We are doing the bridge now with a loan, the same loan you don’t want us to take… those are two people-centred projects in Linden, for the people of Linden by the PPP/C government.”

Highlighting the Linden Call Centre, Prime Minister said it was a “failed project” that the government took over and restructured, employing over 150 young people from the region.

The National Assembly has approved the amendments to the External Loans Bill and the Public Loan Bill. As a result, the domestic public debt ceiling will be increased to $750 b and the external borrowing ceiling to $900 b.

E-Communications and Transaction Bill

Meanwhile, The Honourable Prime Minister, in support of the E-Communications and TransactionBill, emphasised that as Guyana navigates an ever-evolving digital landscape, the Bill is a critical step towards positioning Guyana at the forefront of the digital revolution.

“This bill sets the stage for the legal recognition of electronic communications and transactions, signalling the Government’s commitment to embracing technological advancement…It ensures that electronic records hold the same legal standing as the paper counterpart, thus installing confidence in businesses and individuals to embrace electronic methods of communication and record-keeping.”

He said the Bill facilitates and regulates safe electronic communications, transactions, and services, building a seamless digital environment that enhances efficiency, transparency, and service delivery.

“This bill paves the way for public authorities to leverage the potential of electronic records, information, signatures and system by promoting collaboration between public authorities and private entities. We aim through this bill to create a seamless digital ecosystem that fosters efficiency, transparency, and better service delivery.”

According to the Prime Minister, the Bill will also make provisions for citizens who do not have access to electronic communication.

“The bill emphasizes the need to provide access to the information in paper form when required. This measure ensures that citizens who may not have access to digital technologies are not left behind in this digital transformation and ensures that all citizens can participate in the digital era.”

The E-Communications and Transaction Bill of 2023 will facilitate the establishment of an administrative framework and outline the measures for electronic security procedures and providers. According to the Prime Minister, it will also outline procedures for handling unlawful or defamatory information.

“By laying the groundwork for secure electronic communications and records, we bolster the foundation for a digitally resilient nation. These provisions will enhance the trustworthiness and authenticity of electronic interactions, providing citizens and businesses alike with the confidence to engage in digital transactions.”

The E-Communications and TransactionBill of 2023 was also passed in the National Assembly yesterday.

Electronic Identification Card (e-ID card) Bill

During yesterday’s setting of the National Assembly, Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d), the Honourable Mark Phillips also introduced the Electronic Identification Card (e-ID card) Bill.

The Bill, which is a major undertaking by the Government, will see the consolidation of the biometric data of each citizen into a single card known as the ‘e-ID’. The Bill also proposes the establishment of a Digital Identity Card Registry for collecting identity-related information for citizens fourteen years and over and non-citizens, including skilled nationals of the Caribbean Community.