It was with utter disappointment I read a letter published in the April 26, 2018 editions of the daily newspapers, penned by Member of Parliament, Mr Juan Edghill, in regard to today’s (April 27) planned parliamentary tour of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) expansion project.
To read that the Parliamentary Opposition declined the offer to visit the project is startling; the tour, after all, was arranged at the behest of the Members of Parliament of both sides of the House. The Parliamentary Opposition, in fact, had raised vehement protest following a visit to the project in January by members of Cabinet and had emphasised that other elected members who would have voted on the project should also be privy to seeing it. Therefore, this about-face is surprising, though not completely unexpected when one reflects on the opposition’s typical approach to matters of national development.
In particular, Mr Edghill has continued to show that he is oftentimes economical with the truth. As the Ministry of Public Infrastructure’s Shadow Minister, Mr Edghill has been invited to other tours of the CJIA project and would have attended at least one of them. Additionally, he and the entire House would have been provided on numerous occasions with all relevant information relating to the project. In fact, Mr Edghill put forward several queries – most of them deliberately obtuse – all of which were painstakingly responded to. Nonetheless, he today claims that the Government of Guyana is non-transparent and unaccountable; his claims of underhanded behaviour, non-consultation, and non-provision of information by me, and by extension the Government of Guyana, ring hollow.
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Opposition’s refusal to visit the project is a strange one since the new arrivals terminal will be completed in June. This means that members of the travelling public will be able to use the new terminal. Therefore, whenever a member of the opposition travels internationally beyond June, he or she will receive an unguided tour of the new facility anyway.
It is important that the Parliamentary Opposition recognises the role they play in moving our country forward. Trivial back and forth achieves nothing; it is time to put Guyana at the forefront.
David Patterson, MP
Minister of Public Infrastructure