1.1 Mr. Speaker, I rise to move the motion for the approval of the Estimates of the Public Sector and the Budget for the Financial Year 2020 and, in doing so, I wish to indicate that Cabinet has recommended that the National Assembly proceed upon this motion, pursuant to Article 171 Paragraph 2 of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.
1.2 Budget 2020 is finally before this Honourable House after one of the most testing, convoluted, complicated, and traumatic periods of Guyana’s post-independence history. Twenty months since Budget 2019 was adopted in this National Assembly, 628 days since the No-Confidence Motion was successfully passed on December 21st, 2018, 475 days since a sitting of the National Assembly, 191 days since the March 2nd, 2020 General and Regional Elections, and 38 days following the declaration of those election results on August 2nd, 2020, with the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) being sworn in as the legitimate Government of Guyana.
1.3 The people of this country have been tried and tested but not defeated. Our nation’s young democracy was under severe duress, however, the Guyana Constitution and the judicial system showed their resilience in the face of repeated efforts to undermine both. Our people endured and remained resolute and peaceful in their defense of democracy. We as a people were bolstered by the support of over 100 nations and all the major international and regional bodies – the United Nations (UN), the Commonwealth, the Organisation of American States and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) – in their righteous defense of the will of the people to elect a government of their choice and, in the end, democracy prevailed.
1.4 How should we feel when several of our neighbouring sister CARICOM countries had their elections in the period between March 2nd and August 2nd, 2020 with their results declared within hours of the close of poll? The unwarranted delays and subsequent court challenges that·ensued have certainly tarnished the image of Guyana’s democratic credentials, a situation this President Ali-led Government has already started to correct.
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