Georgetown, Guyana – (October 10, 2019) The Ministry of the Presidency condemns the deliberately false and misleading Kaieteur News article headlined, “No cash transfers in the absence of detailed studies – President Granger” and is calling for an immediate retraction.
The article, published in the October 10, 2019 edition of the paper, deliberately perverts President David Granger’s responses to questions posed to him by Senior Journalist, Ms. Julia Johnson, in the margins of an accreditation ceremony hosted, yesterday, at the Ministry of the Presidency.
At no time did President Granger say that cash transfers (from oil revenues) to citizens, were dependent on detailed studies.
The President said the Working People’s Alliance made a proposal, but no details had been worked out.
The content of that interview is printed, verbatim, below:
Ms. Johnson: “Just a clarification on the cash grant. There seems to be a ‘for and against’ that proposal, where does that take you?”
President Granger: “There is no ‘for and against’. The proposal has been made by the Working People’s Alliance, but we have not worked out the details. We…the other partners, are not against cash grants but we asked for more information …details on who will be eligible; how it will be disbursed. So it will not be a question of refusal or any conflict, it is a question of the operationalising of that element of what is going to be part of the Sovereign Wealth Fund.
“I made public announcements about the role of education and that is uncontroversial. I think all the parties, even the Opposition party has accepted that education has to be given a key role in the disbursements from the Sovereign Wealth Fund or the Natural Resources Fund. So, among the partners, there are no major disagreements.”
The President also said: “As part of the proposal for the review of the Cummingsburg Accord, we included some of the items which we hope will find a way into the manifesto. So I would say that we are still in discussion with the AFC and my expectation is that during the course of this month, we will move further along to reaching a solution to any other difficulty we may have, but right now the discussions are going on pretty smoothly.”
Ms. Johnson then asked: “Mr. President just going back to the cash grant issue. Would some of the queries or clarifications that you are seeking from the other parties…would it be how to identify those beneficiaries because previously, and looking at when we had the flood in 2015, there was this Government’s plan to compensate all those who were affected and then …and lot of people who were affected were not compensated? So, I am asking you whether the framework or the queries you’re seeking would be who these beneficiaries would be and how to find them or chose them [or] select them?”
In response, President Granger said: “Right now we are eating the cake before we [get] it. We need to decide how much will be coming and the profits must be shared with other national needs, you know infrastructure, social development, agricultural development and so on. So, we don’t know how much we are getting; we are asking our partners to address their minds to how much needs to be spent and for what purpose and to whom. I agree with you there is a question of national and natural disasters… We are now in the stage of planning and it is not necessarily the best thing to conduct this debate before the plan has been made. There has been a lot of speculation and we ask that people put figures to their intentions before we make any public discussion, but the APNU is not against cash grants. It needs to know more before it can make a proper announcement to the people of Guyana”.
The Ministry, therefore, contends that the article is inaccurate and does not reflect the Head of State’s true statements.
It is, therefore, calling on the Kaieteur News to immediately retract the inaccurate article and to publicize the accurate statements made by the Head of State.
The Ministry further encourages members of the media corps to hold fast to the principles of sound journalism and to desist from publishing false information.
The Ministry is also urging all right-thinking Guyanese to review the interview between the Head of State and the Journalist for themselves and not to be misled by misinformation designed to manipulate them and create mischief in the society.