Interviews and photos by Jonelle Fields and David Papannah
This week we asked the man/woman in the street for their views on the coalition government’s second anniversary in office.
Zaheed Hack, Taxi Driver
`I don’t want to be biased but I think that the Government is doing good and they are doing bad at the same time. With the way they are managing different ministries administratively and implementing things it is ok but the result of the country doing economically well from when they took office we have not seen any economic increase, actually I might be biased to say that we have declined economically and we have not seen an increase right now. Things have gotten really tight, they have promised to reduce VAT and they did reduce the VAT but they put VAT on other items. It is like if you check the maths in it what sense does it make, like VAT on education, I have to pay VAT on my son education now. If you do check in the history of these politicians and political groups the same group that is in government now, their predecessors, Burnham said that he will give free education from Nursery to University but what is happening now, people have to pay for education. You have to pay VAT on water, VAT on electricity and prices going up all the time. I think something needs to be done and for them to correct this. They also introduced this use of brand new tyres, when we should have a choice whether to use brand new tyres, we should be encouraged to use brand new tyres but we should also have the choice in whether to use used tyres because this makes it affordable, not everybody can afford a brand-new tyre. I can afford a brand-new tyre now but tomorrow I may not be, I cannot afford one. I think we need some foreign investors to boost this economy. If I need to rate them from a scale of 1 to 10 I put them at 5.
Mikail Rodriques, Businessman
`They have failed to deliver on what they had promised, and from the statistics to what we see, not even 25% of the things that they promised were done so I can’t give the present government any ratings in this point in time. Maybe in the next two years if things turn around and I decide to look at things differently and through development of this country and the people, maybe in another two years I can say something different about them but right now I cannot say anything good about them because I want them to deliver on what they have promised. I am very much disappointed not only as a Guyanese but as a supporter of the government, I campaigned for this government. I have lost it with city hall and by extension this government, with their failure to deliver to the people. I expected them to deliver, with what they suggested that the past persons in the government who were stealing, I’m looking forward for them to putting everyone in jail. They claimed that they would deliver a better economy and I have not seen that as yet. Look I was coming down the East Coast and they putting up an arch, they need to check in with the people first. They seem to be doing things for the people and not with the people. I think they are making great mistakes on that part, but I am hoping that they can turn around and do something that benefits the people. I have tried to justify my reasons for following them and supporting them at the last elections but their performance can be rated as poor presently and that is not just an idea, I rate them based on the facts that I have and have seen them do already.’
`I feel that two years is a long period, but yet for a restart on our policies and programmes they have made a start we will have to give them a chance to develop what they had started and to see where it goes from there. Like people will explain that all of us might be in a classroom subject to the teacher teaching us but when we have to apply the same concepts we come out and have a different approach to it so while some people may criticize, some people view the policies and programmes in a more constructive way. So we are yet to see the developments and where they are taking us from here. I am hoping that we may go upward and we will see lots of improvement because we are in a technological age where everything is advancing so if the policies of Guyana have to advance, it means therefore we will have to make sacrifices for them to proceed.’
`I expect them to do better than this, like with VAT I expected them to take it back. And even the education they are not supposed to trouble that at all, because how the children will get their education if the people them cannot afford it. I want them to do better, I might be gone in the future but they have to do better for the young ones who are coming up. I want them to make decisions that would influence the future people of the country. They just doing things and done, they are not consulting anyone and like nobody cannot stop them. They need to consider the Guyanese people because is the public put them there so they need to talk with us. They just want to do what they feel like doing because they name government. ‘
Ulric Leacock, Vendor
`The government needs to do more, and I voted for them and they did not do enough for us. They said they wanted a change and they did not give us a change and this is the change right now we getting. You bring in 14% on the school children VAT plus they bring in 14% VAT on other things and the poor man feeling the squeeze. I don’t know what they really doing and if I vote back I would vote for the PPP because they were doing quite well. Which in when they were in power for 23 years I build a house and I was working for less money and now in APNU time I cannot by a bicycle. They have to come out more and meet with the people like what Burnham use to do. Burnham use to come out with his horse and meet the people and hear what they had to say. But this government isn’t doing nothing, all they doing is giving the ministers 50% and the poor man cannot even get 10%. I glad if a new party can take over and that is my opinion.’
M. Troya, Vendor
`They have the city clean and we can see that, certain things that use to go on don’t happen anymore. Like every day somebody use to die in a murder and that cut out. Change will take a little while, we getting it but not so much. I’m satisfied for what they did in the two years and I’m looking forward for better things in the other years to come.’
Joy Grandison, Vendor
`The two years that they are in they did well, however they still are a young government and I would give them time to progress. But so far so good and the president has done a great lot for the people in terms of development and cleaning up the city. I want to see them do more for the people and visiting the Guyanese people, especially those who are in need.’
Devon Gibbons, Teacher
`Two years later much can be identified of our achievement under the coalition government. It is evident that policies are being observed and adhered; infrastructure has been developed, garbage has been cleared and so much more is happening, which is great. However, the majority of the Guyanese people do not seem to agree with these developments and improvements, some I do not understand and cannot agree with myself. However, I would like to commend the Government on the work done thus far and encourage them to do more and better. Congratulations APNU+AFC government.’
Rowen Willabus, CEO IntellectStorm Inc.
`May 2015 came as a breath of fresh air in a country long stifled by partisan politics. A coalition government took the reins of power and citizens felt and still feel that much positive change was and is upon us. I represent a major and growing sector in this country, Information and Communications Technologies (ICT). ICT and its development sat on the sidelines for decades as we watched fiscal and legislative features of the other sectors grow. The birth of the Ministry of Public Telecommunications, created specifically to address the needs of the ICT sector, was a significant point that showed me the government’s acknowledgement of and commitment to this area. That commitment was also visible with the legislative commitments that followed, particularly the government’s move to liberalise the telecommunications sector and develop 200 ICT hubs for Hinterland, Poor and Remote Communities. Hundreds of thousands stand to benefit from this. The youth representation in government is not a reflection of the large amount of young people who supported the coalition to power. However, the few that were chosen are doing a remarkable job, constantly having to prove themselves. One individual given that chance, Director of Sport Christopher Jones, greatly improved the visibility of our sports men and women; treated them with the respect they rightfully deserve and even awarded them scholarships to further their education. Beyond commendable. The government cannot expect an A grade on its report card after two years in government. It is still fumbling to address inclusivity. Often times, the most practical solutions to economic, social and political issues seem out of its grasp and what seems like a lack of leadership leaves everyone in doubt. As we approach our 51st year as an Independent nation, we would have experienced a considerable number of political and social changes that could have and should inform how we practically address the needs of our people. I strongly believe in this government’s intent to do the right thing but they desperately need to work on their communication with the people of Guyana. I want to remind our politicians, and particularly the government, of the need to be as inclusive as possible, to consult and listen to its people, to move their offices to the streets, villages and markets around this country, understand our needs and move swiftly in implementing policies that would benefit us all.’