“Our competitor plays dirty, be aware of those who bring false promises” – Min. Jordan
― Successful community meeting hosted at Suddie Primary School, residents satisfied
― “This will be the mother of all elections… who wins in 2020 is likely to be there for a long time, and money will flow to be spent in all directions!”
― citizens need to be more interested in what was happening, in terms of politics
― “Despite all of the challenges, we have done well”
DPI, Guyana, Thursday, May 30, 2019
It was an interactive session when Suddie residents met with Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, and Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe, at a community meeting at the Suddie Primary School, on the evening of May 29.
Leading off the event, Minister Garrido-Lowe reminded of the need for unity, despite disagreements which, “are normal… we bring the best ideas to the table and hold one head. It’s been four years now, and we are stronger and better together now.”
She highlighted the improvements that the Coalition has brought to Essequibians such as better medical facilities, roads and bridges.
These, and much more, are being done across the entire country. She stressed the need for parents to encourage their children to stay and do well in school, “once this is done, they will have a chance to access scholarships to further their studies… We have a president who believes that education will take us out of poverty.” Minister Garrido-Lowe reiterated that the Coalition Government is a caring administration which is always prepared to listen to citizens, support and work with them to solve any challenges.
Addressing the gathering, Minister Jordan recalled that he commissioned two child care facilities at Dartmouth and Charity, last year and visiting the Suddie Hospital. He said the need for improved services was noted and “shortfalls will be corrected.”
He shared that he was encouraged with the responses from residents who attended the Anna Regina outreach earlier. The little gestures of appreciation and recognition from those who he was able to assist previously, “was quite gladdening for his heart.”
Minister Jordan however, warned residents to be aware of those who bring false promises – the political opposition. The Coalition Government, he explained, inherited billions of dollars in debts and legal judgements, money which could have better utilised to boost many sectors and salaries.
Meanwhile, Minister Jordan recalled the $42Billion (US$200M) loan which the past government “ploughed into GuySuCo’s Skeldon estate” but has to be repaid. He also reminded of the PPP administration’s use of the sugar industry and its untenable financial position, “some $89Billion in debt”, immediately after taking office and the Coalition Government’s need to find $12Billion to pay salaries. In three years, approximately $40Billion had to be found by the government to patch the industry, he explained. The minister also reminded the disbursement of $5.6Billion to rice farmers after the Venezuelan rice market collapsed, as some of the “mess left by the PPP”. The refusal of the last government to pay a contractor $400Million plus judgement which has now ballooned to $800M legal payment was also highlighted. These were just some of the issues, Minister Jordan
reiterated, that citizens need to be more interested in what was happening, in terms of politics.
“We need all our soldiers to march. You cannot be disinterested… Arrogance put Guyana where it is today, in terms of payments… You are not going to hear these things from the Opposition… When they come with that same old slimy racist message, tell them where to get off… this is a war of attrition… this will not be given to us. Our competitor plays dirty… We are going to get a second time… This will be the mother of all elections… who wins in 2020 is likely to be there for a long time, and money will flow to be spent in all directions!”
Minister Jordan made it clear that “promises of free payments by the opposition will spell doom because the mathematics don’t add up if persons are paid to stay home… You will destroy any budding industry… We cannot allow politicians to come into our communities and destroy us. We are in a war… If you don’t vote, it means you’re voting for the next person.”
He warned residents to get registered, regardless if they were previously.
“The list is corrupted! It has 650,000 registered voters but only 730,000 voters. That doesn’t make any sense… get registered and don’t anyone register unless they are actually from the GECOM. There are nearby countries that are conniving with the enemy and far away countries that are conniving with the enemy… Despite all of the challenges, we have done well.”
Outside of the 1998 Armstrong tribunal, Minister Jordan reminded that the Coalition Government has given the largest increase in the shortest space of time to public servants.
“Imagine if we didn’t have to pay all that money to GuySuco, CLICO, the Berbice Bridge etc.”
Minister Jordan shared concluding thoughts at the end of the meeting.
“This a war. This is a fight for our children in as much it is a fight for our survival. 2020 will be a defining moment in the history of this country. You know what you had with both governments. Make an assessment as to who you want to carry you through your golden years, and when you do, I’m sure that you will want to see APNU+AFC government lead you forward.”
Issues raised by residents included the need for more scholarships for Essequibo students, more streetlights, more frequent cleaning of drains, road repairs, reduced gratuity payments for former New Opportunity Corps staff, rehabilitation of the Suddie Primary School’s ablution area and community playfield and more ministerial visits.
Ministers Jordan and Garrido-Lowe promised to have the relevant ministries address any concerns beyond their purview, with follow-up action to be taken over the coming weeks. The details and issues of residents were also recorded.
The community meeting was one of several hosted by ministers, in communities across Region 2, as part of the ‘Government comes to you’ outreach conducted earlier at Damon Square, Anna Regina, Essequibo.
Images: Marceano Narine