APNU meandered its way through five years not focused on anything that mattered to people

– Dr Jagdeo defends PPP/C’s development plans amidst opposition criticisms

General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Dr Bharrat Jagdeo emphatically rejected claims made by the Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton, regarding the absence of a comprehensive development plan for the country.

During his weekly press conference at Freedom House on Friday, Dr Jagdeo outlined the PPP’s meticulous sectoral development plans, with a focus on healthcare, housing, water, electricity, and public infrastructure.

PPP/C General Secretary, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo speaking during his weekly press conference Thursday

Norton’s allegations, highlighted in a circulated flyer, were promptly refuted by the General Secretary, who criticized the previous administration for their lofty promises which were never realised due to their unrealistic nature.

Dr Jagdeo stated, “This is coming from APNU, which meandered, its way through five years not focused on anything that mattered to people from a welfare perspective as well as economic growth, job creation, revenue creation.”

Speaking about the PPP’s healthcare development plan, which aims to redefine the minimum care provided to citizens across the country, he stated that a central component of this plan involves the construction of 12 new hospitals.

Additionally, there are plans to rehabilitate six existing hospitals, including major facilities in Bartica, West Demerara and Linden.

“When I say rehabilitation, I mean major rehabilitation. Like in Linden, it’s over US$30 of rehabilitation,” he underscored. 

Among other initiatives, Dr. Jagdeo said that the government has undertaken extensive reforms in the healthcare sector.

Notably, it has implemented a competitive procurement policy, eliminating the inefficiencies of previous practices. This move has allowed for the replenishment of expired medical supplies, addressing critical shortages that plagued the healthcare system.

“It’s not like what used to happen under Volda Lawrence, it’s a competitive system. We had to destroy $10 billion of expired medical supplies… We exited that drug bond kind of arrangement, the corrupt one that was under APNU,” he said.

In a bid to enhance the management of hospitals nationwide, the General Secretary said the government has also collaborated with an international company to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare facilities.

The recent passage of privacy laws has also paved the way for the implementation of a comprehensive electronic patient management system, ensuring seamless record-keeping for both private and public healthcare institutions.

“That’s in one sector… nothing was there in 2020. We have now not just conceptualised this but it is all under implementation. And then APNU has the audacity to talk about no plans, that the government has no plans,” he noted.

On the issue of water, the General Secretary acknowledged that there are water woes due to the prolonged dry season and recent power outages.

He, however, noted that about 13 water treatment plants are in progress to address the issue of treated water for thousands of households along the coast. There is an aggressive hinterland programme in place, which has resulted in the implementation of water systems in communities that previously lacked access to potable water.

On the electricity front, Dr. Jagdeo criticized the opposition, highlighting their lack of clear plans for the sector during their tenure. He pointed out the failure to execute the hydro and the gas energy projects.

He highlighted the stark contrast between the PPP’s approach and the opposition’s lack of strategy. “What were their plans? Zero,” he exclaimed.

Addressing current challenges, he acknowledged issues in the electricity sector, citing a disparity between the installed generation and peak demand due government’s heavily subsidizing electricity.

Plans are in motion for the installation of 33 megawatts of solar power to bolster the grid in Berbice, Linden, and Region Two. Simultaneously, initiatives are underway for an additional 25 megawatts of solar power in the Demerara area, particularly along the Ogle four-lane being constructed.

Dr Jagdeo highlighted that there are currently over 7, 000 government projects under implementation across the country, with some 700 road projects alone awarded by the Cabinet on Friday.

Additionally, the government plans to construct 14 new pumping stations, utilizing $130 million Guyana earned through the sale of forest carbon.

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