Alliance For Change (AFC) Member of Parliament, Sheila Holder has called for the ending of the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph’s (GT&T) monopoly and says that there is need for the crafting of an economic stimulus package.
Several opposition speakers in the Budget 2009 debate had called for such a package and on Tuesday, Holder added her voice to the call as she made her presentation.
However, Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud has said that the Budget itself is a stimulus package.
Holder derided the 2009 Budget as “singularly pedestrian” in its fashioning and said that it has no understanding of the country. Further, she stated, in her eight years in Parliament, there has never been a recommendation made that has been taken on board by the PPP/C government.
She raised several questions asking what considerations have been given to establish free enterprise in Region Nine and about the air transport sector, noting that last year 4,500 less visitors came to the country than in previous years.
Meantime, Holder de-clared that with regard to the power company, Guyana Power and Light, the only yardstick which should be used to measure its performance is when citizens stop complaining about it.
In the health sector, she said, dissatisfaction had been expressed with several facilities but noted that under current Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, progress has been made in a number of areas.
She also called for initiatives to be implemented to retain professionals.
Additionally, Holder declared that since taxpayers were footing the bill for the largest portion of the Budget, the government should privatize the Guyana Chronicle newspaper and the National Communications Network.
Also speaking on Tuesday was Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. Frank Anthony, who stated that last year was a rewarding year for culture.
He cited the hosting of the Caribbean Festival of Arts, among other activities that were held.
The minister further said that there is a draft sports policy. He noted that the construction of the Olympic-size swimming pool had to be temporarily suspended due to a problem and it had to be redesigned and the project will hopefully be restarted this year.
He revealed that last year, the Guyana National Stadium at Providence had 85 event days that saw various sporting activities taking place there.
Dr. Anthony noted that Guyana had been successful in its bid to host matches for the ICC 20/20 World Cup to be held in the West Indies next year and a team from the world cricket governing body has already visited with another expected this week to examine corporate hospitality.