Opposition’s inputs no match for govt’s policies − Min Hamilton

The contributions of the APNU+AFC Opposition at any forum cannot be compared to the policies and programmes put forward by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic Government.

The assertion was made by Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton Monday, as he defended the government’s $781.9 billion 2023 budget, which was presented to the National Assembly by Senior Minister in the office of the President with Responsibility of Finance, Dr Ashni Singh on January 16.

Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton during the budget debates Monday morning

Minister Hamilton said his ministry was able to train some 7,500 persons in various skills through the Board of Industrial Training in just two and a half years.

He said in 2020 alone, the ministry trained 2,000 persons, although the government assumed office in August that year. 

The minister underscored that the previous government had five years and only trained between 1,300 to 1,500 persons, adding that limited to no effort was made to include hinterland residents in the programme.

In 2021, BIT trained some 3,086 persons and last year another 4,500 persons were certified after completing their courses. Those numbers can be validated, the minister stated.

“Mr. Speaker budget 2023 provides for us to train about 7,000 persons…What is important to note also is the apprentice programme that was dead under APNU. We were able to place 173 apprentices in 2022, 144 at the GuySuCo training centre,” he noted

Minister Hamilton pointed out that the opposition cannot bring to the house any programme or policy that could improve the lives of citizens.

“Mr. Speaker, nothing productive, nothing constructive, nothing developmental they would bring…they are incapable of presenting any programme or policies to the Guyanese people. We left programmes for them to execute when they were in government but they failed miserably even though the money was available,” he stressed.

Further, he pointed to a press release issued by the opposition AFC proposing that a monthly electricity subsidy be given to all category of consumers ─ $5000 for domestic consumers, $10,000 for commercial and $15,000 for industry.

And although these measures were suggested by the AFC in the missive, Minister Hamilton highlighted that one must take note that when that same party had the chance in government, nothing was executed.

In fact, he said that same group removed all the subsidies, specifically from pensioners, school children, farmers and other sections of the society. He reminded too that Value Added Tax (VAT) was even added to electricity and water charges.

“You think the Guyanese people can be fooled?” Minister Hamilton questioned.

The budget debates are ongoing in the National Assembly.