Cabinet approves 6% increase for pensioners

Cabinet authorized a 6% increase for old age pensioners and public assistance recipients and approved seven contracts worth over $4B on October 9 and October 16, Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon, said at a post Cabinet briefing on Thursday.

The contracts were approved in the areas of water, for the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), in housing, agriculture, health, home affairs and works. The first contract caters for the procurement of vehicles for the Guyana Police Force valued at $15.2M; supply and delivery of dietary items to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation to the value of $45,582,365 and the supply of fuel and lubricants to the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority, to the value of $49M.

The October 16 contract is for the Georgetown Water Supply and Sewerage Programme 11; GWI Construction of iron removal treatment plants at Central Ruimveldt and Sophia at $588,945,509; rehabilitation of the New Amsterdam to Moleson Creek Road – Lot two, at US$15,453,007.60 or $3.9B; the construction of the GRA Office Complex at Linden, Region 10 at $16,000,699 and the building of infrastructure and services for the low income housing project at Plantation Glasgow, Region Six, at $375,932,110.

In the human services/ social security sector, Luncheon said that Cabinet noted the October 31 commencement of public consultations on the government discussion document on sexual violence. Minister Priya Manickchand will be in Region Six to initiate the activity. Cabinet has also authorized further financing for the Camp Sophia Holding Centre for street children who have remained homeless. Cabinet also approved the Draft Children’s Bill 2007 dealing with matters related to custody, contact, guardianship and maintenance. The AG’s Chambers will perfect a parliamentary ready version for submission, Luncheon said. The ministry has also begun to distribute the 2008 pension books and the 6% increase will apply.

Luncheon also said government intends to work toward the constitutional commissions for women and gender equality, the indigenous commission and one that deals with youths as well as the reconstitution of the Ethnic Relations Commis-sion. In response to questions on the financial distress at City Hall and on comments made by Mayor Hamilton Green about the government’s dealings with the municipality, Luncheon said that the government will leave it to the wisdom of the taxpayers to reflect on its engagement with the City Council. And, as regard the calls being made for a voter’s identification card, for the local government elections, the Cabinet Secretary said government is prepared to fund a multi-purpose card for use during the 2011 general elections, but it is not prepared to fund a card to be used every five years.

This multi-purpose card will be able to satisfy the requirements of two to three agencies for example, GECOM, the GRA or NIS and will be one multi-functional national identification card, according to Luncheon. Luncheon also said government and the opposition parties never agreed to this in the June 14 agreement about developing a new voters list.

The Elections Commission, he said, can produce a card for their use. He announced too that November 17 or 19 may be the new date for the start of house-to-house registration though he did not comment on what was causing the delay in the process that should have already started.

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