At meetings held in the South and North Savannahs of the Rupununi (Region 9) Leader of the Opposition Brigadier David Granger, APNU MP Mr. Sydney Allicock and APNU Regional Democratic Councillor Mr. Vincent Henry were able to refute People’s Progressive Party/Civic attacks and substantively defend the actions of the parliamentary majority during the recent budget debates in the National Assembly.
The Opposition team corrected several erroneous claims that had been made to villagers by PPP/C representatives shortly after the budget debates in April. Mr. Granger, Mr. Allicock and Mr. Henry told a large gathering of residents at Sawariwau Village that the PPP/C had deliberately set out to deceive the indigenous people of Guyana. They made it clear that the opposition did not cut money allocated to the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs or to projects affecting the indigenous people.
The Opposition team explained that funding for the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) was a grant from the Kingdom of Norway. It was made clear that the Opposition did not cut funding. It was the Government of Guyana’s responsibility to ensure that the projects earmarked for funding by the grant from Norway satisfied the conditions imposed by the UNDP, IDB and the IBRD (World Bank).
The Opposition team reminded residents that that “One Laptop Per Family” project was implemented by the PPP/C long before the 2012 budget debate. The team explained that some computers which had already been distributed had been presented by the People’s Republic of China but Rupununi villages did not benefit from the gift.
Funding for several other projects –the Amerindian Development Fund, the Solar Panel Project and the Amerindian Land Titling and Demarcation Project – was not affected by the budget cuts and this was also explained to the residents’ satisfaction.
The Opposition team urged villagers to maintain their demands for titles for their lands and to demand that there was free, prior and informed consent by the Government with them on all aspects of development in the region.