Region 10 Chairman Sharma Solomon says APNU plans to host 19 community meetings throughout the region in order to educate its constituents on components of the 2012 National Budget and inform them about the rationale behind the cuts voted for in Parliament.
This announcement was made on Wednesday at the first of these meetings which was held in the conference room of the Linden Enterprise Network. A panel including APNU shadow Minister of Works, Water and Infrastructure Joe Harmon and RC Solomon and Region 10 MPs Vanessa Kissoon and Renis Morian interacted with residents. According to the chairman, the meetings would discuss components of the Budget that have implications for Region 10. “….The government has put forward its case and it’s now time for Region 10 to put forward its side,” he said. Solomon said the agenda also includes preliminary and fundamental issues such as unemployment, infrastructure and the lone television station, which had been challenging the community prior to the reading of the 2012 National Budget and must be addressed.
Harmon sought to explain the Opposition budget cuts and, with regard to the much-talked about ‘snap elections’ he said, “Bring it on! We are not afraid.” Further, he said that APNU is not afraid of the war being waged by Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon nor President Donald Ramotar. Harmon also posited that this is the first time in Guyana’s history that citizens have become so aware of the Budget and the processes enshrined. “It is the first time the government picketing the opposition. So in actual fact we, APNU and AFC are the deciders,” he said.
Residents made several suggestions when given the opportunity to express their views and pose questions to the panel. Charles Sampson suggested that the Parliamentary majority should fight for a reduction in the cost of electricity for Georgetown and other areas by at least 50%. Members of Parliament were also urged to push for a ban on the importation of incandescent bulbs based on the fact that energy savers have proven to be more cost effective.
Sampson also called for private investigators to probe big companies guilty of stealing electricity throughout the country.
Another resident questioned the authenticity of Dr Luncheon’s recent statement that the National Communications Network (NCN) is a private company. The resident also queried the lack of protest action by the PPP/C government when hundreds of workers were laid-off from the Linmine bauxite company, those unjustly sent home by RUSAL and the 70-plus persons fired by the Guyana Power and Light.
Valerie Adams-Patterson suggested that APNU and AFC erect projector screens in various sections of the community for the airing of matters discussed at the meetings and other discussions important to Lindeners. She also questioned the rationale behind government’s reluctance to permit a cut in the fees to cross the Berbice Bridge on the grounds that the New Building Society has boasted of big profit gains which is credited mainly to investment in the bridge.