Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Opposition criticisms of sugar subvention shameless

AGRICULTURE Minster, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy has lashed out at the combined opposition parliamentary parties for criticising Government’s recent move to provide a $4 billion subvention to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo). The Opposition has referred to the allocation as a fiscal bailout and the minister said that is far from the truth and misrepresenting.
“When it was announced in Parliament that the Government would be giving $4 billion subvention to GuySuCo, I heard certain members of the AFC and APNU talking about a fiscal bailout... and I have no desire to get into any argument on this issue,” he said.
Ramsammy declared that those comments are slanderous and said the Opposition should be ashamed for going to such an extent, even after their rhetoric during the election period for Government to support the industry.
The minister said it is still unclear why these parties would have an issue with the Government being supportive of the corporation, even though persons are aware that sugar plays an integral role in Guyana’s development.
According to him:“It was APNU who said that the Government should help GuySuCo, during the November elections, leaders of the AFC and APNU said we should support the sugar workers and they spoke about a 20 per cent increase.”
Minster Ramsammy said GuySuCo has been the backbone of Guyana’s economy for years and it provides direct employment to approximately 22,000 persons and 100,000 persons indirectly.


He noted that every citizen is a beneficiary of GuySuCo and it is also responsible for between seven and 10 per cent of Guyana’s economy.
“I stand as Agriculture Minister and say that this is an investment being made by Government and it is the right thing to do and one who apologises for this subvention is out of their minds,” Ramsammy said.
He said members of the Alliance for Change and A Partnership for National Unity, who are critical of the investments being made by Government, simply do not have the interest of the sugar workers at heart.
Ramsammy added that the Government has no problem with supporting the sugar industry and GuySuCo at large during its financial crisis, since this is one of the sectors that gives back to the country greatly.
“You cannot take seven to 10 percent of the economy every time around and then not want to support GuySuCo during its struggle… I think those who are critical of this investment are shameless,” he maintained.
He insisted that, instead of being so critical of the investment, the Opposition should be the ones asking why only $4 billion, since they were the ones who fueled the fire for such an investment.
“Why is it that they are being so critical? Why don’t they ask why $4 billion? Why not $6 billion? Why are we jumping on the sugar workers now? should be their questions, he said, adding they should be ashamed of themselves.
The minster said the critics should be more consistent in their calls for support as they were doing during the elections period.
He is of the view that those people are not looking at the real issues and taking note of the major investments and improvements that are being made to add to the lives of every citizen.


“What about the $50,000 threshold? They are not giving us credit for the things that are being done but they are looking to create problems where there is none,” Ramsammy observed.
He pledged that the Government will continue to support the people of Guyana and exhaust all avenues in doing so, regardless of what is misrepresented.
Remarking that this year’s Budget is a people friendly one, he said, in previous years, persons used to be afraid of Budget, but now, under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration, persons look forward, each year, to hear what increases they benefit from and so on.
Minster Ramsammy said Guyana will continue to grow with fiscal prudence and the leaders of this country will always strive to ensure that Guyana is a country that does not live above its means.

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