The Government has come under heavy criticism from Opposition Member of Parliament Tabitha Sarabo-Halley over its response to the Coronavirus pandemic and its efforts to address the impact of the pandemic on Guyanese.
During her budget debate presentation, the APNU+AFC Parliamentarian said Budget 2021 follows the lead of Budget 2020 in providing no clear plan or programme to address the impact of the pandemic on Guyana.
Ms. Sarabo-Halley said “five months ago, the 2020 budget gave no suggestion that the PPP had any idea how to deal with this pandemic and the 2021 Budget speech does no better. The reality is that the 2021 Budget speech, just like Budget 2020, which was erroneously dubbed an emergency budget, outlines no clear policy, plan or programme, that would help Guyanese recover from the effects of the pandemic. Budget 2021 constantly refers to the so – called emergency budget of 2020 which completely lacked the elements of what would be required in an emergency and only catered to ensuring landlords and some private sector entities benefit”.
She also touched on the Government’s $25,000 COVID relief grant and the many complaints about its distribution.
Many persons have complained publicly about not being provided with the grant because they are not the owners of the houses where they live.
“There are thousands of eligible Guyanese who have not yet received their $25,000 but the members on the opposite side are so caught up in their grand scheme of destroying any and all potential wealth in the black community, to care whether the neediest of our society were able to receive the meager $25.000. That recovery is being touted and there is no discussion of whether the $25,000 cash grant was adequate and whether the measures, had the intended impact is atrocious. Too many of our fellow Guyanese were given pink slips or told they were not catered for because they were squatters or were just simply bypassed”, Sarabo-Halley complained.
The Member of Parliament said the Coronavirus cases in Guyana are still on the increase as there is very little enforcement of the COVID-19 guidelines.
She said there has been an unofficial reopening of the country supported and encouraged by the Government even with the absence of a comprehensive plan to deal with the impact of the virus.
“The PPP has practically given up on managing the spread of COVID 19 leaving Guyanese to fend for themselves. The PPP awaits a vaccine. What is most ironic Mr. Speaker is that even though they have played lip service to placing all their eggs in the vaccine basket, there is no reference to the purchase of vaccines in the 2021 Budget. They could not find the monies to purchase the main thing they are hinging the path to recovery on… a vaccine… instead Mr. Speaker, they are waiting for donations and freeness while boasting of a G$383B budget”, MP Sarabo-Halley stated.
Ms. Sarabo-Halley said the budget should have catered for the purchase of vaccines to cover the entire population rather than wait on donations. She said the government continues to fiddle, as the country burns, and the impact of the pandemic must be addressed.