baubles, beads, toys and trinkets. “The hinterland, like everywhere else, needs reliable services such as community-based solar and wind, water and electricity generation.” According to Granger, the national budget must provide for regional administrative centres for places like Bartica, Mahdia, Mabaruma and Lethem and called for them to be quickly upgraded to township status with their own mayors and town councils. “We must stop treating the hinterland as bush.”
The Opposition leader in his presentation said that budget 2014 did nothing to inspire hope, and added that a bold budget was needed to move the country forward at a faster pace. “Every budget is a plan, an economic plan, a financial plan… It must be forward, not backward looking if it is to be of any value.” He was adamant that a budget must have a clear vision, “a projection of what needs to be done tomorrow to solve today’s problems and the resources to achieve those objectives…It is not a recapitulation of previous administrations.” The Minister said that what the Budget did do “is throw a few crumbs to schoolchildren and pensioners that might please some of the people some of the time.” According to Granger, the Budget continues the neglect of youth education, employment and enterprise. “The PPP spends like a drunken sailor on a lot of little projects like the President’s Youth Choice Initiative and the President’s Youth Award Republic of Guyana, Youth Enterprise and Apprenticeship Programme; National Training Programme for Youth Empowerment – but it does not measure the impact of these schemes on careers and jobs for young graduates. What young people want are permanent institutions not ad hoc programmes.” The Budget, according to Granger, must include real measures that provide work for more young people. “The basic fact that all parties acknowledge about Budget 2014 is that there is little that it will, or can, change, for the mass of the young people…Young school leavers simply do not have the skills to equip many of them for the world of work…The economy simply is not providing employment opportunities for them,” said Granger.
The Opposition Leader conceded that Guyana, arguably, has never been wealthy, but the appearance of hordes of extremely poor, destitute, homeless persons and street children over the PPPC’s two decades is a man-made catastrophe. “Poverty is not an act of God…Poverty can be reduced and, perhaps, eventually eradicated, with good governance and sensible public policies.” The Opposition Leader said that Budget 2014 will be measured by its public impact and APNU reserves its right to disagree with provisions which are not in the national interest. He said that there is no way the country can move forward with such a budget that continues to disregard the needs of the most important factor in national development, the people. Granger was adamant that the budget must be amended if the people are to enjoy a good life. “APNU signals that it disagrees with certain measures which have been proposed…When the questions are put, we shall exercise our constitutional right to express an agreement or disagreement,” Granger asserted.