The Aubrey-Norton-led opposition clarified recently that it does not believe giving cash grants to citizens is a hand-to-mouth practice, as dubbed by Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo. Instead, the opposition believes it is a means of enhancing the lives of citizens by utilizing the nation’s wealth derived from its abundant natural resources.
During a recent press briefing, the Opposition’s Economic and Youth Policy Advisor, Elson Low, stated that if his party were to return to government, it would implement a minimum livable income for each household. This comprehensive plan includes initiatives such as creating well-paying jobs, raising wages, eliminating personal income tax for low-level jobs, reducing the cost of living, and offering targeted cash grants and subsidies. Jagdeo had previously criticized these proposals, claiming they prioritize cash giveaways over securing a better future for Guyanese.
In response to these allegations, Low criticized the Vice President for name-calling and misinformation. He asserted that the opposition would conduct a study to demonstrate how it intends to collect and distribute funds under this proposal.
In a sharp rebuke of Jagdeo’s recent announcement at the National Toshaos Conference, the parliamentary opposition also criticized the PPP government’s plans to increase old age pensions and school children’s cash grants. They argued that these increases are both insufficient and indicative of the government’s disregard for the well-being of low-income families.
Low also questioned Jagdeo’s declaration to raise old age pensions by $7,000 and school children’s cash grants by $10,000 by 2025, suggesting that these promises do not adequately address the challenges posed by the high cost of living and poverty in Guyana. He expressed doubt about the government’s ability to significantly improve the living standards of Guyanese families and emphasized that the rising cost of living could offset much of the promised increases.
Despite Guyana’s newfound oil wealth, the opposition contended that the PPP government’s policies disproportionately favor the elite and their associates, leaving many families struggling below the poverty line. They expressed concerns about the potential stagnation or reduction of the middle class under the current administration.
However, the opposition clarified that its vision is unwavering: to ensure that every household in Guyana achieves economic security and prosperity, regardless of location or household composition. They argued that these measures represent not only a moral obligation but also a human right, reflecting their commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Guyanese.
Central to their approach is the belief that Guyana’s oil wealth should benefit every citizen, fostering economic growth and nurturing human resources for the nation’s advancement.