During the extensive debate on the 2011 national budget, Alliance for Change executive member, Sheila Holder dismissed approximately 17,000 of the country’s valued senior citizens as mere “phantoms,” in actuality wanting Government to strike off those pensioners from its data base.
During her rebuttal to Holder’s claim, Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Priya Manickchand explicitly invited the Opposition to peruse the report on pensioners, an opportunity that was ceased by Opposition Leader, Robert Corbin.
The views of the pensioners were garnered on this issue and below are their comments.
“I think that is totally wrong. After you become a citizen of the country and worked for all the years, you are supposed to enjoy some benefit from it. So I think the cut out from old age pension is out of the question.”
“They can’t try to take off people from what from they are supposed to get,that is wrong. You have to thank God for small mercies, that you can make a debt and the pay for it.”
“I don’t think that is right. If people born and grow in the country and they reach the age to collect pension, they should be able to get it.”
“The government is for the people and they have to serve the people, not the opposition. They are just warming the seats in parliament. If they have evidence that the people do not exist, they should bring the list. We have worked for that.”
“I believe that would be something devastating, because the whole world is in a crisis, not only Guyana. The money is very important to me because my husband is home and not working because he had an accident and I cannot go out and work, as I have to stay and take care of him. So the money is a major factor to me, I won’t lie.”
“They have to prove that the people do not exist. If they are to be struck out, then prove that they do not exist.”
“I don’t believe that is right because we all need it and we want whatever the government can afford to give us. We are thankful for it.”