A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) yesterday gave the Donald Ramotar-led government a Grade F for its performance over the past three years, stating that it has failed on several fronts. By contrast, opposition leader David Granger said, APNU has been at the forefront of the struggle to improve the lives of Guyanese in every sector.
Reading from a prepared statement at his party’s end-of-year press conference, Granger said, “The reality is that the Ramotar presidency is worse than missed; it has simply failed in its most vital aspects.”
He said that since December 5, 2011 when Ramotar took office, there has been a failure of democratic governance, a failed public security strategy, a failed youth strategy, failure to control public finances, a failed public health strategy and a failed public infrastructure strategy.
He added that the president and his Home Affairs Minister have “failed to make Guyana safe for citizens and for investors. The combination of corruption, cronyism and other crime has taken a toll on the quality of life.”
He mentioned the president’s “outrageous prorogation of Parliament” and criticized the president for failing to provide jobs for thousands of school leavers while pointing out that unemployment is the central issue affecting young people.
Referring to failures in public primary health care, he noted that the country is still frightened by recurrent reports of Chikungunya and other vector-borne diseases.
Granger said the president inherited a bundle of flawed public infrastructure projects from his predecessor and has no strategy of his own; thus failing to “record a single success”. Among the projects he mentioned were the Amaila Fails hydropower project, the Marriott Hotel construction and the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri extension project.
Granger stated that on December 3, the Government Information Agency (GINA) quoted Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon as admitting that “the government has not been able to achieve the objectives of the …prorogation.” He said that was an understatement. “In fact it is clear that Ramotar has not been able to achieve any meaningful objectives on anything – democratic governance, economic development, human safety and social cohesion. The Donald Ramotar presidency has failed,” he said.
Asked about APNU’s performance thus far, Granger responded “excellent, pass, splendid…” He stated in all of the six failures that he has cited, APNU had played an important role in preventing further abuse. “It is APNU which has called for better governance. It has called for local government elections, which has called attention to the administration’s failure to comply with the normal norms of good governance. We have brought bills. We have brought resolutions before the National Assembly and it is President Ramotar who…indicated publicly that he is not willing to assent.”
According to Granger, “We have been struggling all along to ensure that there is good governance.” He added that if one examined his party’s entire record in the National Assembly one would see “APNU leading the struggles to improve the quality of life for Guyanese and increase the level of scrutiny of finance… and other things which were being done by the National Assembly.”
He said that in the area of security no one can question APNU’s commitment and he later listed a number of things the party has repeatedly highlighted including calling for strategies to prevent gunrunning and contraband struggling. He said APNU has been leading the fight against piracy and banditry while calling for change.
Asked about positives from the government, he said that the decision of the president to exit office prematurely is perhaps “something he would be applauded for. He has saved up having to wait five years and by this time next year we will have a happy Christmas. He will be gone.”
APNU MP Joe Harmon said the country cannot allow “failures to be running anything.” He said as a people we have to “let President Ramotar and his general secretary and all these people in the administration know …we are not prepared to accept failures anymore and it is time that they get out of office.”