EXECUTIVE member of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), Dr. David Hinds, has voiced the party’s support for President David Granger and the incumbent APNU+AFC coalition government at the upcoming national elections.
Dr. Hinds, while speaking to a moderate gathering of persons at the Tipperary Hall in Buxton, noted that while in government, the coalition might not have been able to fulfill all promises but said, “We’ve come to reason with you that despite that dissatisfaction, we’ve got to return our government to power and ensure that they do better than last time.”
According to him, however, the government has made some notable strides that warrant supporting them at the next elections.
“The person who heads this government has brought back dignity to the office,” he said importantly. “If for nothing else, President David Granger should be why you put your [vote] next to the coalition for the next election.”
Hinds’ clear endorsement for President Granger comes after the party would have indicated its support for the return of President Granger as the Presidential candidate for the APNU+AFC coalition.
The WPA is one of several parties constituting the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) coalition section of the government other parties include the People’s National Congress (PNC), National Front Alliance (NFA), Guyana Action Party (GAP) and the Justice For All Party (JFAP). APNU was formed in 2011, and the party joined forces with the Alliance For Change (AFC) in 2015 to contest elections that year.
“He’s a very upright person, very principled. No one can point a finger at him in relation to personal corruption, he’s really a model citizen, and we’ll be in support,” Working People’s Alliance (WPA) executive member, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, had said earlier this year.
In addition to commenting on President Granger’s stature, Dr. Hinds further posited that the government has distinguished itself by being the first one that did not imprison its opponents, thereby removing fear from the people. He also posited that the government has been an “ethnically fair” one.
These broad accomplishments, Dr. Hinds opined, should warrant the support of voters for the coalition government when it is time to head to the polls.
Looking ahead beyond the next election, the WPA executive said that once the coalition is re-elected, there are certain key areas of focus the WPA will be advocating for.
“Our leaders tend not to begin with our people. When we think about policy, we sometimes think about foreign investors first [but] I am suggesting that going forward we must begin with policy in the interest of people,” Dr. Hinds said, stressing: “We’ve got to invest in people.”
Investing in people, he explained, will lead to better use of the investments made in other areas such as infrastructure, and will allow for a more developed nation.
One central investment in people would be conditional cash transfers that could be fostered with imminent oil revenues.
“The cash transfer is a thing we are going to fight for,” Dr. Hinds said, highlighting, “[The WPA will] fight like a tiger to ensure that cash transfer is given to you once the oil money starts to flow.”
In Guyana’s Stabroek block alone, there have been, so far, 13 discoveries which are expected to yield in excess of 5.5B barrels of recoverable oil.
This newspaper reported, in March, that Guyana ‘raked’ in over US$75 million in 2018, directly from local content in the oil and gas sector and this figure excludes downstream impacts of the industry such as works in mechanics, electrical work, welding and technical warehousing, among others.
According to Dr. Hinds, even if 25 per cent of the oil revenues is used for Guyanese, it would be enough to transform their lives and with the cash transfer, he explained that eligible Guyanese would receive a cheque each month to supplement their income.
However, he told the Buxton residents that the money would come with certain requirements that must be followed or else that arrangement would be discontinued. Requirements would include ensuring that children of parents receiving the transfer maintain at least a 90 per cent school attendance, and engaging in regular healthcheckups.
Hinds rubbished claims that the cash transfers would be squandered, and instead opined that people would use it to ‘hustle’ to earn extra income.
In addition to this, he noted that the WPA will start “pressing” the government to create a “people’s bank” so that people can get loans at a generous rate. This, he explained, is an attempt to spur small businesses, since he believes that people can’t be encouraged to start these businesses without being provided with tangible support.