Political maturity needed to ensure progress – Youth Coalition

The Youth Coalition for Transformation (YCT) is dissatisfied that a year has passed with no significant development on the issues to convince the public that the political system is effectively working.

“Political maturity is still seriously needed towards compromise for consensus. It is obvious that all political parties have contention with Gecom. Thus, why to date no move has been made on electoral reform and campaign finance reform?” YCT Presi-dent Jermaine Grant asked at a news conference yesterday.

He said the group believes that critical issues, such as electoral, police and local government reform as well as effectively combating corruption will go unaddressed and unresolved for the new year.

He added that transparency, accountability with public money and economic empowerment and development of Linden and Region 10 are also crucial matters that need to be addressed.

He cited police brutality and extra judicial killings by officers of the Guyana Police Force, noting that relatives of Ron Somerset, Shemroy Bouyea, Allan Lewis, Shaquille Grant and Dameon Belgrave are still seeking justice. “No commission of inquiry, reward money, hush money, gifts and visits by government officials to offer sympathies can remedy the system and make Guyanese feel safe until we see real institutional and policy reforms of the Guyana Police Force. This is long overdue,” Grant stated.

In addition to this, he pointed out that the installation of Interim Management Committees and the dissolution of NDCs and municipalities will not remedy problems of revenue and resources in villages across Guyana. “Since the commencement of Parliament, no piece of local government legislation has been passed. How serious is the government when for more than ten years discussions are yet to bring an end to reason on local government reform?” he questioned.

As regards corruption, Grant said the recent ranking of Guyana below many other Caribbean countries is embarrassing. “Rather than the government act to build its image and Guyana’s profile, it resorted to defile TI and discredit the Index. Why not proceed to appoint an Ombuds-man? Why not reconstitute the Integrity Commission? Why not establish the Public Procurement Commission? Why not deposit taxpayer’s money in NICIL into the Consolidated Fund to be managed by the people through their representatives in parliament? Why not allow scrutiny of public projects funded by Guyanese taxpayers such as the Marriot Hotel project? Debates on NCN are not indicators to measure corruption or combat corruption,” Grant posited.

He further stated that Linden and Region 10 have been economically emasculated for many years and the removal of electricity subsidies and efforts to impose electricity tariffs exacerbated the problem, leading to the mass protest and deaths of three men. “The valour of Lindeners for economic justice was resolute in protest that resulted in landmark agreements signed by Chair-man of Region 10 Sharma Solomon and Prime Minister Samuel Hinds. After more than three months all seems to boil down to naught. Surely Lindeners deserve better,” he said.

Grant said YCT believes it is time for real consultation, especially with the parliamentary majority, to cooperate for consensus on policy positions for a comprehensive budget and legislation agenda to be delivered to Guyana for the new year.

“That can be the New Year resolution for all Guyanese. We are almost three months away from Budget 2013 and the time to act is now,” he urged.

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