Former Foreign Minister Carl Greenidge has confirmed that the Guyana government does not favour direct cash transfers into the hands of ordinary Guyanese on the grounds that it will encourage unemployment, a position that was roundly rejected by Chairman of the Buxton First of August Movement (FAM-Buxton), Professor David Hinds.
“I don’t know that one can give a definitive answer to it but it is felt in the government that the consequences of that negative impact are consequences that maybe [sic] are not prepared to take on at this stage. It isn’t that’s something to be ruled out forever but consideration is influenced by that fear,” he said.
Greenidge, an economist, made known government’s position one year after Working People’s Alliance (WPA) executive member, Distinguished Economics Professor Clive Thomas had tabled the controversial proposal at the FAM-Buxton. “I’m afraid I can’t offer you that solution which Clive was privileged to offer,” he said
The former Finance Minister said government was wary about cash disbursements directly to Guyanese could result in them becoming dependent on the state.
“The economists speak about the price of labour for the price of labour. How will those who are working feel about those who are not working getting a grant and whether you”ll find…that they might as well stay home if that sort of money is being shared. ‘Let me stay home and collect it’,” said Greenidge.
However, Professor Hinds rebutted Greenidge, arguing that it is government that has to plan to ensure that ordinary people benefit from some of the oil revenues while the state uses the remainder for other things. “We have to give them some hope that there is something in this for them…They want money, they want cash in hand. It is the responsibility of the government to find work for them,” said Hinds, an outspoken critic of the coalition of which the WPA is a member.