Budget demonstrates Govt’s strength to make tough decisions ‒ Harmon

first_img…dismisses Opposition’s criticisms as scare tacticsBudget 2017—its allocation and controversial tax measures are demonstrative of the strength of the coalition A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government to take hard decisions to build the economy.Minister of State, Joseph HarmonThe position was adumbrated by Minster of State Joseph Harmon−the most senior Government speaker in the 2017 debates thus far−on Tuesday, as he appealed to the Guyanese populace to understand the realities within which the 2017 Budget was crafted.According to Minister Harmon, “reason will resume its seat when you allow for emotions to take flight… Guyana will be a better place with this budget.”Responding to the unrelenting criticism levelled against the 2017 Budget, particularly by the political Opposition ever since its presentation on November 28 last, Minister Harmon said that the complaint was in fact a rebellion against order.Scare tacticsAccording to Minister Harmon, the Guyanese people have grown accustomed to the scare tactics of the PPP/C.He used the occasion of his contribution to the debate to suggest that the PPP/C is in fact engaged in its scare tactics in order to appeal to its dwindling support base, ahead of its Congress to be held in a few days in Essequibo.According to Harmon, a similar tactic was employed by the previous administration during the public wrangling over the amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Laws.Minister Harmon said the PPP/C at the time went about the country scaring people by telling them businesses will have to shut shop as a result of the failure of the then opposition to agree with the then PPP/C Government over its proposed amendments.According to Harmon, the PPP/C is a political party notorious for raising the spectre of violence to gather its flock, “and now it is no different they are attempting to vilify a well-crafted budget for their narrow political agenda.”Green AgendaTurning his attention to the green agenda being promulgated by Head of State, President David Granger, the Minister of State firstly dismissed the previous administration’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) as a “narrow concept.”The APNU/AFC Government, according to Harmon, is looking to move a green agenda concept to reality.Drawing reference to assertions he made during a delegation he had led to a Parliamentary forum at which point it was adumbrated by Professor Clive Thomas that successive generations will have ideas as to where to advance a country.According to Minister Harmon, it is in this context that government considers LCDS ‘Environment 101’ but the green pathway being pursued by the incumbent is in fact ‘Environment 505’.“LCDS was a narrow vision and we have to broaden it,” said Harmon, as he alluded to the President’s green pathway being the vessel to be used.Harmon was adamant that LCDS was merely a concept that could not have been translated into actionable plans and projects.Harmon said Guyana’s pursuit of a green pathway will positively transform the economy and to guide the process government is looking to craft a green state development plan.This plan, he said, will reorient the structure of Guyana’s production base, while pursuing the diversification of the economy that reduces reliance on the ailing traditional sectors such as sugar, rice and bauxite.The Minister used the opportunity to speak to some of the partnerships that will inform the crafting of its green developmental plan, including the United Nations and the German Development Bank. Harmon spoke too to actions to be undertaken in the areas of protected areas and land management and the preservation of national patrimony for use by future generations, in addition to cementing Guyana’s role on the international scene in securing green solutions to climate related challenges. (Gary Eleazar)last_img read more