People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Chief Whip Gail Teixeira has accused the government of ignoring the inputs of civil society on matters of national importance.
At the PPP/C’s end-of-year press conference last week, Teixeira said the latest example of government refusing to engage the national stakeholders was its response to the joint appeal of the private sector and the trade union movement to meet with the president on the 2017 budget measures.
Instead, she said, the government has moved ahead with a plethora of tax measures that will increase hardships for the working people of this country.
“The treatment of the organised working people and their executive is an indictment of the government. The treatment of sugar and rice farmers is unconscionable,” Teixeira said. She, however, added that she was very “pleased to see that the Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc. report has just come out and they are exposing the examples of accountability failures, cover-ups, [and] breakdown of procurement laws with the APNU+AFC government.”
According to her, “The government unabashedly and brazenly uses the legislature as an appendage of the executive, instead of respecting and guarding the separation of powers” between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary as provided for in the Guyana constitution.”
She pointed out that the trends of the government since it took office “have now evolved into a form of governance that defies the principle of parliamentary democracy and inclusive governance.”
“The fact that their actions appear to be driven by vindictiveness and retribution fundamentally exposes their undemocratic and authoritarian nature,” she added.
Teixeira also accused the government of deliberately and consciously undermining Article 13 of the constitution, with regards to participatory democracy with civil society and other national stakeholders.
She said the opposition party has seen an increase in the “abuse of power and control, focus on control at all levels of the government, from the top going down that are fundamentally threats to democracy and human rights.”
Shrouded in secrecy
At the same time, Teixeira accused the government of shrouding itself in secrecy, while noting that President David Granger has only held one press conference since taking office in May, 2015.
Granger last held a formal press conference on October 2, 2015.
Teixeira said that the APNU+AFC government’s “lack of accessibility and visibility is part of its mantle of ensuring that they protect themselves from being exposed to the views of other people.”
She charged that instead of engaging the press, Granger “shrouds and protects himself behind selected press people” on his weekly interview programme, ‘The Public Interest.’