By EWALT AINSWORTH                                          03 30 2012

A few short years ago, immediate past President, Bharrat Jagdeo visited with Newark New Jersey Mayor, Cory Booker and had extensive conversations with the iconic mayor about the plight of immigrants and the poor.  Both these categories of people will always be with us and as such from a humanistic point of view, they need to be taken care of.  If the 2012 budget is a metric the Guyanese community in Newark then we consider it both shallow and empty.

Permit me to say too that when Cory came to power a few short years ago, he did not set up office in town hall; he went to live between and among the most vulnerable people.  Winter time he shovels snow, and in the summer time he sucks water ice and play ball with them.  Perhaps it may be a good thing for both the current Presidents and Finance Minister to shack up for one night at the Palms or Dharm Shala.

The Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh needs a whooping with a belly-ache switch.  He must also be reminded that there are more poor indigent Indian folks than black folks.  Not only are more Indians indigent but they are also more and most vulnerable because of their emptiness in terms of education and shallowness in terms of their inability to operate in a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic environment.                 

This 2012 budget is about propagating poverty among the elderly by installments.  The increases only permit an extra two or three US dollars for each category.  It should also be noted that the National Insurance Scheme is currently seeking Parliamentary approval to increase contribution rates upwards of 20 per cent.  Is who fooling who eh?

Every morning, every parent has to give every school age child a towel (G1000) or else h/she not going anywhere.  The Georgetown hospital charges approximately twelve towels (US60.) as consultation fee.  A knee replacement surgery is upwards of 400,000 towels or US2,000.

I am tempted to itemize food prices and transportation costs; a flavor of how money works in GT may be better under the austere circumstances.  It costs US 11.00 to cross the Berbice Bridge.  A haircut is a towel and a perm and dye G15,000. The ATM machines only gives money in increments of G30,000; you go one time, you can’t go back again under this new budget arrangement.  Shame Mr. Ramotar, Shame on you.

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