Ram and McRae’s budget focus has excoriated controversial statements made by Minister of Public Health and Chairman of the PNCR Volda Lawrence that public sector jobs will go to PNCR persons.
In a historic epilogue to its 29th successive review of the annual budget, Ram and McRae says there is now a serious possibility that this year’s budget will be employed for discriminatory employment practices .
The Ram and McRae budget focus epilogue follows:
Ms. Volda Lawrence, chairperson of the PNC/R, a cabinet member and the leading partner in the Coalition Government, is quoted in the Stabroek News as telling a PNC/R Conference: “… the only friends I got is PNC, so the only people I could give work to is PNC.”
Forget for a moment that Ms. Lawrence ignores the Reform component of her Party and recognise only that a Senior Cabinet Minister of the APNU+AFC Government publicly admits that at least sections of this Administration is openly admitting discriminatory employment with an undisguised hint of ethnic preferences. This is unconstitutional, shocking and disgraceful.
Ms. Lawrence’s Ministry of Public Health is allocated a total sum of $25,223 million in the 2019 Budget. We note too that her Ministry has already been implicated in a number of tainted procurements amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars, in violation of the law. This raises the serious possibility that the 2019 Budget, potentially the last full year Budget before the 2020 elections, will be used for discriminatory employment practices and other spending, not only in Ms. Lawrence’s Ministry but in the Government as a whole. It therefore raises the further question about the extent to which this Budget may contain disguised political spending.
With the major political parties each having a strong ethnic base, the statement reinforces the public racism narrative, and leaves the most apolitical, objective observer in Guyana with little option but to question whether this is an embedded policy among party leaders.
Five days after this disgraceful statement, neither the President, her Cabinet colleagues nor any of the leaders of the Coalition Parties have found this egregiously offensive declaration objectionable to them. This is ominous and may set the stage for one of the most confrontational campaigns for what her colleague Minister described as the “mother of all elections.”