Guyana’s leading opposition party, the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), strongly criticized the PPP government’s ad hoc use of oil revenues as well as its alleged neglect of workers. During a press conference on Thursday, the APNU expressed disappointment in the government’s celebration of its third anniversary in office, which was marked by advertisements of mostly infrastructure projects.
“The Stabroek News Editorial on the anniversary date poignantly encapsulated the national sentiment,” the APNU’s Leader, Aubrey Norton stated. He said, “Aside from irregular handouts treated as the property of those in power, little has been done to alleviate the hardships of the impoverished and less fortunate.”
With the steady influx of oil revenues into the national treasury over the past three years, the APNU argued that ordinary Guyanese citizens see no clear path towards prosperity, as described in Article 40 (1) of the Guyana Constitution, which promises “a happy, creative, and productive life, free from hunger, ignorance, and want.”
Despite the financial potential provided by oil wealth, the APNU also criticized the PPP for its expenditure on infrastructure, which it described as “wild, unplanned, and corrupt.” The spokesperson pointed out, “Guyanese citizens under the PPP continue to experience a high cost of living and rampant unemployment. They are living unhappily, trapped by poverty, unfairness, hunger, and want. Clearly, the focus of the government is not on the people of Guyana.”
The APNU also accused the PPP of neglecting the common citizen, stating, “No ordinary Guyanese can envision a path to prosperity for themselves or their families under the corrupt and incapable PPP regime.”
The opposition further alleged that wages and salaries for both public and private sector employees are insufficient to cover basic necessities. “High prices for food, rent, utilities, and other necessities have left many Guyanese workers as the ‘working poor’,” the opposition party said.
The APNU also contrasted the current situation under the PPP with countries like Kuwait and other oil-rich Gulf states, where public sector employment provides a decent standard of living. They said, “Under the PPP regime, a public service job will still leave many Guyanese below the poverty line or economically vulnerable. Despite having oil resources, wages and salaries remain far below a livable income.”
The party also praised its previous coalition government for achieving over a 70% increase in workers’ wages and salaries without oil resources.
Additionally, the APNU blasted the PPP government’s “utter disregard” for the working class and working poor in Guyana. It asserted that salary increases are shrouded in uncertainty, bad faith, and political maneuvering. “When increases are eventually announced, they fall below the inflation rate and are not sufficient to help workers overcome the high cost of living and pay off large debts. The PPP’s approach guarantees a life of poverty for our workers.”
Ending on a positive note, the opposition party promised that a coalition government would ensure a pathway to prosperity through dedicated work for the country’s public servants, teachers, nurses, disciplined forces, and low-level private sector workers.