The Working People’s Alliance (WPA), one of the parties in the ruling Coalition Government, is insisting on cash transfers of oil revenue to citizens on a monthly basis.
Party Executive David Hinds Thursday told a public forum at Buxton, East Coast Demerara that cash transfers must be an integral part of the Coalition’s platform as it faces new elections from a No Confidence motion.
Towards this end, he said the WPA will “fight like tiger to ensure that cash transfer is given to you once the oil money starts to flow.”
Hinds said that even the minimum revenue from oil production, due to start next year, would be enough to change the economic and infrastructure landscape in Guyana.
As such, Hinds said the WPA is insisting that there must be monthly cash transfer of the oil revenue to citizens.
He said that even if 75% of the benefits of oil goes to ExxonMobil, the remaining 25% would be enough to transform Guyanese society and the lives of citizens.
But he said that people must demand the benefits.
“Our leaders tend not to begin with our people. When we think about policy, we sometimes think about foreign investors first. I am suggesting that going forward we must begin with policy in the interest of people. We’ve got to invest in people,” he stated.
He said it is ok to invest in roads and bridges, but “we’ve got to invest in people.”
“You could get the best bridge and smoothest road, but if people are hungry and don’t have any work, those roads mean nothing; you have to invest in people,” he stated.
Under this proposal, he said that every month that Guyanese would get a cheque and that would be sued to supplement their income.
“A teacher working for $80,000 a month can’t cut it; that’s why we have problems in the education sector,” he suggested, but if they are given extra cash, they will not teach with a heavy heart.
Hinds rejected claims that citizens, especially the poor, would squander cash handouts.
“They say that if we give poor people money they will spend it on rum. I think it is an eyepass.
“They eyes pass we.”
Pointing to Buxton, he said that if one were to walk around in the village, people are on the corner hustling, selling ‘lil beer, selling lil black pudding,’ but if they get a cash transfer, they wouldn’t spend it out smoking or drinking, but would use it to expand their business.
He suggested the WPA would not back down from the issue, claiming that the matter of cash transfers is practised in many countries around the world.
Speaking to a small group, he said that what the WPA is proposing is not outright cash transfers, but cash transfers that hang on certain conditions that would ensure a more educated and healthy population.
He said the conditions include a 90% attendance rate at school and regular vaccinations and health check-ups.
“Now what that will mean is that school attendance will go up. It means you will take that money and buy more nutritious food for your children.
“And so at the end of the day we have a healthier society and we have more educated society.”
The first oil production phase, due to start early next year, is expected to generate over US$7 billion in royalty and profit oil revenues for Guyana during the life of the project.
This first phase will see a daily extraction of 120, 000 barrels of oil per day.