Govt unleashes GRA against PPP/C members over budget exposé

first_img…”we will not be intimidated”—JagdeoThe coalition A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) Administration has unleashed the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) against senior members of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) hierarchy as part of its retaliatory action for exposing members of the incumbent Administration during the consideration of the 2017 Budgetary Estimates.Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo delivered this charge on Thursday during an impromptu press engagement in the Committee Room of the National Assembly, even as the House continued considerations of the estimates for the 10 administrative regions.According to Jagdeo, at least five members of the PPP/C Executive have received letters from the GRA in relation to purported outstanding property taxes.Jagdeo told the media that the members he has spoken with thus far, have denied owing GRA any outstanding taxes.Finance Minister Winston JordanThose that the GRA had written to—even as the consideration of the estimates continued—are Dr Frank Anthony, Indra Chandarpal, Irfaan Ali, Joseph Hamilton and Bishop Juan Edghill.The letters were dispatched on Wednesday and Thursday.Lashing out at the move by the GRA, Jagdeo called the move an act of vindictiveness on the part of Government either as a collective or on the part of Finance Minister Winston Jordan.“They think by threatening investigations, to lock up people, that they will intimidate people,” Jagdeo charged as he defiantly declared “they are never gonna muzzle us.”According to the opposition leader, if the Government were to be judged by their own standards, half of the Cabinet would be placed in jail over the drug bond and D’Urban Park fiascos alone.Calling the move by Government a diversionary tactic, the Opposition Leader told the media that the PPP/C members written to, will be responding to GRA.He called the action by GRA a continuing trend on the part of Government, saying “every time we expose them, they then go after us.”A defiant Jagdeo has since challenged the Government to, “come after us, it is no problem, you should have done that already, it has been two years, do the worse that you can do.” According to Jagdeo, the Administration has been in office for close to two years and has completed a number of forensic audits which it has claimed, proves illegalities.Jagdeo, said to the Administration: “Charge who you have to charge, we will not be intimidated by Government.”Meanwhile the Opposition Leader also used the occasion to respond to both Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Finance Minster Jordan—both of whom would have rebutted his arguments during their presentations to the debate on the 2017 Estimates.According to Jagdeo, there isn’t much to respond to as it relates to Nagamootoo since his presentation was more of the same, true to form with a presentation 75 per cent about himself.He criticised Nagamootoo over the expenditure to be borne by the state on him, saying he was the person who preached about living the Cadillac lifestyle in a donkey cart economy in reference to the PPP/C Administration while in office.Jagdeo told the media that Nagamootoo is the same person who will be costing the treasury almost $12 million monthly.He said this is in addition to the almost $100 million that was spent to upgrade the facilities of his residence, purchase new furniture and a $22 million luxury ride.According to the former President, the annual upkeep of the Prime Minister alone is roughly equivalent to five per cent of the total wages of all of the workers in the employ of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).Turning his attention to the Finance Minister, Jagdeo said it is sad and pathetic that a significant part of the minister’s speech which should be in defence of the 2017 Budget, was in fact “spent on Jagdeo and praising himself…he went to best school, and was super finance minister all these years.”According to Jagdeo, for Minister Jordan to have to resort to such a presentation is illustrative of the fact that “either he doesn’t want to deal with issues at hand or insecure.”Responding to the Finance Minister’s assertion that his (Jagdeo’s) salary had in fact skyrocketed 500 per cent during his tenure in Office, Jagdeo said what the Minister failed to reveal is that Prime Minister Nagamootoo will get “$30 million more than I got and he was never President.”On the matter of Jordan’s character assassination of the former President, he told the media he has a different recollection of Jordan in the Ministry of Finance and maintains that he was never part of the policy aspect of a budget but was merely responsible for putting together various pieces of the document prepared by others, such as the Central Bank and Public Debt departments of the Ministry of Finance, “and thinking it was wonderful, technical work he was doing.”last_img

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