Last week, Aubrey Norton, who leads the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) – the largest support base party in the APNU+AFC bloc – said that the opposition was being “systematically excluded” from the preparatory stages of the almost $553B national budget, which was presented two days ago by the governing People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).
Norton dubbed the reported sidelining as a tactic that demonstrates the “authoritarian” nature of the PPP/C. But the PNCR nor the coalition have formally submitted any proposal to the government with their suggestions. This was confirmed today when the PNCR Chairman, Shurwayne Holder and other PNCR Officials held a virtual press conference.

According to Holder, the PNCR and the Coalition’s recommendations are well known due to repeated statements to the press prior to budget day, and those missives ought to have been sufficient to inform the government of the Opposition’s suggestions. He said that the onus was on the government to ensure that those recommendations received attention.

“Through our press statements, we have put out our plans: what we think should be in the budget and I’m certain that they are well aware of it,” he noted…The onus would be on the government to engage the opposition; they are the ones preparing the budget and I believe that the ball is in their court to engage us, formally, so that we can share our ideas and plans in the interest of the Guyanese people,” he told reporters.

The Chairman said that the Opposition is still willing to meet with the government before the passage of the budget. “We are still open to it. The budget has not been passed as yet and we are still very much open to it,” Holder stressed.


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