President David Granger during his address this afternoon to the National Assembly in the absence of the Parliamentary Opposition, said the Coalition Government inherited a country marred by a depressing financial landscape, a poor economic legacy, and high indebtedness.
As a result of this, President Granger noted that Government had to divert money slated for economic development to clear debts, such as the 1.3 billion dollar judgement to Rudisa Beverages, the 5.4 billion dollar bailout for the National Insurance Scheme, which resulted from the irresponsible investment by the previous administration in CLICO, among several others, totaling millions of dollars.
He also outlined several projects which were completed under the former administration and now have to be fixed including the Kato Secondary School, the still unusable Ministry of Social Protection building in Georgetown, the incompetent or corrupt implementation of the US$ 70 million Fibre Optic Cable Project and the misapplication of computers under the ‘One Laptop per Family’ Project.
The execution of a Government minister, the implication of another in the acquisition of a tracking computer to monitor functionaries marked for death and yet the implication of another in the formation of the “death squad” were all cited as features of the dark period in Guyanese History, which Granger said has left lasting scars.
He reasoned that increase in criminal activities and unsanitary conditions in rural and urban areas should not be regarded as a permanent state, but temporary problems that can be changed.
In this vein he called on the trade unions, the media and civil society to play a greater role in making citizens comfortable.
Health , personal development, recreation, social support, a more accessible and accountable Public Service and a favorable environment for human safety are all necessary for the rebuilding of the eroded public trust, Granger said, something which his Government is determined to accomplish, but not without challenges.
“Government, despite encountering this immense mountain of debt, was able to meet commitments to the nation’s hard-working public servants. The minimum wage grew from $39,520 in May 2015, to $55,000 in January 2016, an increase of 39.2 per cent in 7 months” he highlighted, among other benefits.
President Granger promised that “the ‘green’ state “will ensure that we bequeath to our children and grandchildren a secure and safe future and a higher ‘quality of life’.”
The ‘green’ pathway, Granger noted will allow the country to sustain economic growth, generate new sectors and additional jobs, build a more resilient and diversified economy, promote human development, reduce inequalities and ensure the safety, security and general well-being of the country.