Campaign finance legislation, full disclosure of oil monies in PPP/C manifesto
The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) is going into the elections with promises to enact campaign finance legislation and to ensure that the Government disclose all monies received from players in the petroleum sector.
The party on Friday launched an excerpt of its manifesto titled ‘Our plan for prosperity’ under the theme ‘Stronger together for a better Guyana’ at its Headquarters, Freedom House on Robb Street, Georgetown.
The PPP promised to tackle several social issues but key among its promises are measures to tackle corruption, something which the party was accused of during its 23 years in office from 1992 to 2015.
Responding to questions of how the PPP intends to tackle corruption if elected to office on March 2, 2020, Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo said a PPP/C government will end corruption by enacting campaign finance legislation.
Jagdeo believes 2020 will be different since the players in the business sector have increased significantly as a result of 14 successful oil finds offshore Guyana.
“The reason we agreed that we would support [campaign financing reform] is because suddenly we will become a major player in the natural resources sector with oil and gas being discovered…and we know of the capabilities of companies to subvert political parties,” the Opposition Leader said.
“We have to ensure that foreign money doesn’t play a role in influencing national policy, particularly in these sectors that are so crucial to the wellbeing of Guyanese because you can possibly sell policies that can harm the whole country.”
The current APNU+AFC Government also promised to pursue campaign financing laws but made no effort to put those in place.
Jagdeo said the PPP is prepared to criminalise the non-disclosure of monies received from petroleum revenues to promote accountability.
“Any money coming from oil company to the Government, if it is not gazetted within three months and notified to the Parliament, then the Minister of Finance can go to jail for an extended period and that would be passed [in] legislation,” Jagdeo explained.
Jagdeo said the party will also strengthen the Integrity Commission and ensure procurement laws are rigidly upheld. The party’s manifesto was delivered by Presidential Candidate, Irfaan Ali.
An energetic Ali began and ended his speech by calling on persons who have not historically supported the PPP and those who walked away to vote for the party come March 2, 2020.
“I appeal to those who may not have historically supported us and to those who have not supported us at the last elections to give us the opportunity to be heard….so that you can make a more conscious decision,” Ali said.
The launch was streamed live on the party’s Facebook page.
Ali promised that his party will tackle issues faced by citizens in education, health, infrastructure, security and other sectors.
He said the document brings clarity to the party’s plans for the country pointing to the promise of creating 50,000 jobs, giving out 50,000 house lots, increasing cash grants to school children, ensure every household has access to internet, improve transparency, provide incentives to the business sector, reopening sugar estates, diversifying sugar and rice sectors, pushing local content and reducing water and electricity rates.
Ali said the PPP will also implement targeted initiatives for communities including those in the sugar belt and the hinterland and manage the oil and gas sector in a transparent and accountable manner.
Friday’s launch is a precursor to the official launch which will be in January and Ali said the aim is to shift the political debate to one on policies and give Guyanese the opportunity to ask questions and analyse the proposals.
He believes all of the promises made are achievable and are not just thrown out to garner votes.
PPP Executive Member Gail Teixeira told the media that the manifesto was compiled after meetings with Guyanese from all sectors. As such, she said it is an inclusive document.