Annette Ferguson recently attempted to make two arguments: that the people are suffering under this Government, and that APNU/AFC had a better housing plan than the incumbent PPP/C Government.
I shall now comment on those two arguments:
To begin, former Minister Ms Ferguson did not go into the trouble of explaining how the people are suffering under this new PPP/C Government; she wrote in general terms. There is a reason for that: she will be hard-pressed to show that it is the Government that is causing people to experience hardship, and that the difficult circumstances some individuals are facing are the doings of the Government. Therefore, her argument is more in the realm of propaganda; it is void of substance.
But anyone who looks objectively at the national economic situation would have to admit that, over the last year, the performance of the Government has been nothing but excellent.
In the face of a raging, deadly pandemic that is affecting the global economy, the Government has managed to keep the public sector, public systems, and vital public services consistent with the needs of the wider populace. In addition, the Government has been reaching out to people, particularly those in vulnerable situations, with help in many different ways. And while the former Minister dismissively talks about the distribution of hampers by the Government to citizens, it would be interesting for her to say how much assistance her party is giving to its supporters.
In fact, Ms Ferguson should let us know about the quantity and the quality of assistance the former Government, of which she was a part, gave to the ordinary people of Guyana, as opposed to what was given to rich friends of the APNU+AFC.
Therefore, when she speaks of suffering, perhaps Ferguson is reflecting on the inaction of the immediate past Government to help citizens desperately in need of it.
Second, Ms Ferguson has set out tables about acreage of lands acquired for the purpose of housing by the past Government, but those tables and figures in substance mean nothing if they did not translate into real benefits to ordinary Guyanese.
I am of the view that those figures would change if we know how much of those lands went to friends and party cronies, as against how much was given to Guyanese at the working-class level.
After five years in office, the former Housing Minister should have been embarrassed to reveal those numbers. Those numbers show that the Government performed poorly over the last five years in that sector of the economy. And we must not forget the processing of applications seemed to have been speeded up on the tail end of the APNU+AFC’s term in office, when they were seeking votes.
Compare that to the record of this new PPP/C Government, led by His Excellency President Dr Irfaan Ali. The PPP/C Government has allocated 400 house lots in Linden in just two days. This is more than the amount allocated by APNU-AFC Coalition in five years. Where were those house lots? Right there, in Linden. But the Coalition was too busy taking care of its friends; It had no time for ordinary people of Linden. In fact, one of the past Ministers of Housing resides in that very town.
Moreover, in just one year in office, the PPP/C Government has allocated over 5000 house lots. Unlike the previous Government, these allocations are to ordinary Guyanese who work regular jobs and are seeking to improve the quality of their lives. It must also be said that the allocation process is done in a transparent manner; no hide-and-seek games and secret deals.
Going forward, the Government has already activated the appropriate processes to ensure the planned and orderly development of housing schemes in all ten administrative regions and for all Guyanese.