Leader of the Opposition, David Granger says that he is not afraid about the prospects of Government calling a new election and expressed confidence in contesting it since he does not believe that the vote-costing attitude of the Government has changed for the better in six weeks.
“I am not afraid. I am not afraid of anything the Government will do,” he said when asked about the possibility of new elections being called should there be parliamentary gridlock. He was speaking at a press conference held at Congress Place yesterday.
“If they want to call elections they must realize that the results of the 2011 elections came about because of their own incompetence, because of the behaviour of [former President Bharrat] Jagdeo, because of the errors they made and the fact that many of their own supporters are fed up of their performance.
If they want to go back to the same people they are in for a big surprise because the attitude which gave a big victory to APNU and AFC have not changed. How could they change in six weeks?” he asked.
“They will be making a big mistake if they think what happened on November 28, 2011 is a flash in the pan. I am not afraid,” he declared. “Let them call another general election and they will see what will happen,” he said.
On the issue of access to the State media by the Opposition, Granger said that he will continue to press for this in Parliament
He said this was an issue that he raised during his second meeting with President Ramotar.
“We hope that there is a real opening [of the State media]. We intend to call for the opening of the State media, we intend to call for Broadcast legislation,” he said, adding that this is one of the important items on the agenda of the Opposition in Parliament.
On the issue of his request for there to be Opposition input in the crafting of the budget, Granger said that merely being told what the budget contains is not enough and decried the PPP/C handling of the budget over its many terms in office.
“The PPP has been in office for over 19 years and we know that the huge sums of money are left off the budget,” he said.
“There are three budgets – they present punctually in January or February, then there is a huge supplementary budget which contains billions of dollars, and thirdly the State disburses huge amounts of money which they collect from Lotto Funds, from the sale of public land and through revenues in the mining industry that are not brought into the Consolidated Fund. We want to put an end to this charade,” he said.
“We want to ensure that the revenues of this country are used to the benefit of the people.
That is why they are trying to shift us from the position of collaboration in the preparation of the budget to consultation,” he said.
He said that it is not just a matter of terminology or rhetoric. “It is a matter of substantial disbursement of billions of dollars,” he said.
With regard to the cooperation between APNU and the Alliance For Change, he said that because of the 72 hours notice that they received for the convening of the Tenth Parliament, “We have not concluded a written agreement with the AFC.”
When asked about the party’s position on the budget given that the Government took the stance it has, he said his response remains the same as it had been on Thursday…”when it comes to votes then we will see what happens.”
He said that the Opposition does not want confrontation but to ensure that there is better governance, better financial management and that the institutions on which the country relies are reestablished and respected. This is good Government,” he said.
Granger in addressing whether he would be a candidate for the leadership of the PNCR, said that this is still an internal matter and there is no knowledge who the candidates will be. “I have not made any preparation or any declaration.
I have a lot of work to do as Leader of the Opposition and I would like to get on with my work. If a request is made I would consider that request but right now it is nothing that I have considered,” he said.