Calling the proposed 2018 national budget “visionless,” PPP/C parliamentarian Clement Rohee last Thursday accused government of continuously feeding “empty promises” to the nation.
“We expected the budget to reflect to a larger extent the social and economic challenges facing the country and the people,” the former security minister told the National Assembly on day four of the budget debate.
He contended that the government and country are running on the foundation of citizens’ security that was laid by the former PPP/C administration. The former administration was voted out of office in May, 2015.
“We see no focus in this budget. Mr. Speaker, there is a total lack of focus,” he stressed, while adding that members of the government with their high house rentals and salary increases are living like “leeches” off of taxpayers.
Rohee used the forum to question why the Juvenile Justice Bill, which government had promised, is not yet before the House. “Two years ago it was coming and it hasn’t come as yet Mr. Speaker,” he said before adding that he is also still waiting for the Smart City Project to become a reality as well as the new police station at La Parfaite Harmonie. “Everything is coming… Mr. Speaker, these are the kinds of empty promises we keep hearing all the time,” he said.
With regards to the drug fight, he said that despite the utterances that suggest there is no longer narco-trafficking in Guyana, large amounts of drugs continue to be found. In addition to listing amounts discovered in 2016 and this year, he noted that illegal aircraft as well as a submersible vessel were found.
Rohee also told the House that the recent developments in the police force are a cause of concern. “They are virtually destroying that organisation. They’re destroying good police officers,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rohee took issue with the presentation made by Minister of Citizenship Winston Felix, whom he said failed to state how many persons were naturalised and how many foreigners were issued visas. This, he noted, was done during the previous budget debates. “This is highly suspect,” he charged before adding that it is suspicious to leave out information that was previously given. “Where there is smoke there is fire,” he said as some of his colleagues shook their heads in agreement.
He said too that the opposition will be investigating the claim that 500 birth certificates were issued in the Barima area in Region One. “We don’t know how many more were issued in other areas,” he added.