With many issues regarding the 2012 budget still unresolved, the 2013 budget is up to the people. The Minister of Finance in his opening budget presentation described how ‘sweet and nice’ the 2013 budget was. Basically, it is the same kind of rhetoric Guyanese are saturated with each budget presentation; it is time that we, the people, look at ourselves in the mirror and ask the question: “Have the provisions in the last budget helped me to do more for myself and family? “Are we better off than we were two years ago?”
As responsible people we should be holding our government accountable as we measure their actual performance to ascertain how impactful the budgetary allocations in 2012 were. Has health improved for people in Regions One through Ten? What about water? Are we getting potable water through our taps, or are the lines to purchase water still long at the various sales outlets? What about all the billions of taxpayer dollars allocated to GPL in 2012? Did these reduce the length and frequency of power outages? What about the security sector? Did our money allocated to this sector help to make us safer or is it more of the same?
Good citizenship requires that we pay close attention to what is happening around us, that we ask these kinds of questions, and take action to initiate real change. I believe that the 2012 budget did attract a lot of interest on the part of many ordinary Guyanese who paid keen attention to debates and arrived at their own position. I was very encouraged by the interest shown by many young people who used the social media to discuss budget debates and argue their positions. This kind of renewed interest augurs well for the future and must be encouraged and sustained. It is our attentiveness to and interest in these matters which help us to make the kind of informed decisions which aid meaningful change in our nation. It is our responsibility to tune in, assess the work and action of those we elect to represent us and take action to hold them accountable. The true test of any democracy lies in the ability of the people to make leaders accountable; and to agitate for and initiate change through active participation in the national politics of the nation. Those we elect to lead us are our servants and not our masters; we have the power to replace them at the appropriate time and through the appropriate means, and our vote must not be taken for granted nor must it be considered automatic by those who feel they are entitled to it.