Coalition bridge is breaking down

first_imgDear Editor,It is clearer now than ever before that the coalition bridge is breaking down. Evidence of this fragmentation seems to be spiralling from all angles as a bitter divorce looms.The unravelling of the incestuous relationship comes as no surprise to many. This is since there were really no core foundation principles that would have hopefully merged into something stronger, in support of national and local development. The implication points to the ultimate and further weakening of national and local governance structures which must be remedied with some measure of objectivity.One cannot help but observe the shallowness of decisions, levels of unpreparedness and lack of the coordination of this underperforming coalition. Recently, several A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) members refused to sit in the Parliament when the vote was about to be taken in relation to objections advanced by the Opposition regarding the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) staff’s duty-free vehicle concessions.The situation was indeed overwhelming and quite shameful when Chairman of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Vice President Khemraj Ramjattan and Business Minister Dominic Gaskin abstained from voting with their colleagues on the Government benches. It was also most embarrassing to see the Leader of the AFC, Raphael Trotman and the Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo voting for the motion and the other members voting with the Opposition against the motion.Is this the way that the Members of Parliament representing the Government wish to convey their representation of the people in the country’s highest decision-making body? It is quite obvious and troubling that such levels of unpreparedness regarding critical national matters do not augur well for the coordination required in moving Guyana forward. Simply put, this coalition Government is signalling their resolve and focus on bribing and fooling people to win their support.This motion itself was one which should not have been brought to the honourable House in the first place.This motion was before the House for several weeks for debate. And the APNU/AFC were made fully aware that it was wicked and nasty to use their parliamentary single-seat majority to pass such a motion when these matters could be dealt with by existing policies and rules to govern exemption of taxes and entitlements. It was indeed a total waste of time and abuse of the entire parliamentary mechanism, staff and money to facilitate such skulduggery.The Public Service Register for travelling positions is clear regarding the categories for Ministries, agencies and departments which should be beneficiaries and the level of benefits which should be accorded. Most ridiculous was the fact that many on the Government benches were lying through their teeth because it is public knowledge that Surrender Lall-Boodhoo is not working at the FIU office.It is important to point out that the granting of the concessions by the National Assembly would have been creating a serious precedent in the entire public/civil service, along with all the related agencies. Critically, it highlights the priorities of selected members on the Governments’ side, as well as their lack of concern for critical areas which should be truly prioritised and supported.Reference herein is made to the Commissioners of the Local Government Commission, whose critical role in the functions of municipalities, village and Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) demand that they are granted concessions for vehicles as a critical support.Further, there are literally hundreds of similar cases, in the Ministries, State agencies, semi-autonomous bodies, and constitutional agencies that will not only be demanding the same concessions, but are truly deserving of the support. The Opposition has saved this nation from a PNC-planned recipe for riot in the demand for duty-free concessions, and towards measures for a more objective approach to be pursued.The Minister of Finance must assert himself and he should have brought a ‘Bill’ to change the law and give the GRA Commissioner General the powers to take the appropriate action where necessary if the current system needs any adjustments.Sincerely,Neil Kumarlast_img read more