The PPP yesterday labelled APNU leader David Granger’s recent warning about the country’s youth unemployment levels “incredulous” after the coalition’s vote against the Amaila Falls Hydropower project, which it said could have led to more job opportunities.
At a news conference last Friday, Granger said the country is sitting on a “time bomb” armed by joblessness among young people and he warned of the severe consequences that could result from government’s delay in dealing with the “jobs crisis”.
“We find the concern and statement by Mr Granger perplexing as this is the very individual and his party by extension who only a few short weeks ago voted against crucial pieces of legislation in the National Assembly for the realization of the Amaila Falls hydro project,” the party said in a statement yesterday.
Citing the lack of political consensus in wake of APNU’s withholding of its support for enabling legislation in the National Assembly, developer Sithe Global walked from the Amaila project.
The PPP said yesterday that it is recognised that cheap and reliable energy is a cornerstone for the economic development of any nation, fuelling the expansion of the manufacturing sector, attracting foreign and local investments and creating numerous job opportunities in various fields and sectors for the skilled, semi-skilled or unskilled labour force.
“This is the vision which was behind the efforts to realise the Amaila Falls hydro project,” the party said. “Mr Granger and his party cannot on one hand sabotage efforts which will lead to the creation of jobs for Guyanese, particularly youths and then at the same time gripe about youth unemployment being a ‘ticking time bomb,’” it added.
The PPP, however, noted that it hoped the situation would serve as “a reality check” that would move APNU into first gear in its participation in national development and the creation of job opportunities for all Guyanese.
The party also charged that Granger would have to deal with the fallout among APNU’s constituents over the actions of the coalition’s leadership. “…He is running out of excuses and every time he utters a word, the magnitude of his misinformation to his constituents is being revealed. Make no mistake about it; they know that the actions of the APNU leadership were against their best interest and that of the nation,” it added.
Granger last week said that despite educational initiatives launched by government, a large portion of Guyanese youth are “not in employment, not in education, and not in training”.
He cited an International Labour Organisation (ILO) National Unemployment Report—based on Guyana’s Household Income and Expenditure Survey undertaken over a decade ago—which estimated that about 44% of Guyana’s working age population are “not economically active,” with the majority of them being the youth.
Granger acknowledged several initiatives launched by government to combat the situation but dismissed them as Band-Aid solutions. Instead of a plethora of varying initiatives, he suggested the government should look at a national approach, which would see permanent agricultural and technical educational institutions in every region providing the kind of instructions required to allow that particular region to thrive. He also said work needs to be done to curb the stigma attached to vocational fields, and the persons who venture into these sectors, if the government wishes to circumvent the “dangerous social crisis” which looms.