- Published: 11 February 2016
Mr. Speaker, colleague Ministers, Honourable members on this side of the House, Honourable minority leader and other members of the opposition; I now rise to congratulate my colleague, Honourable Winston Jordan, and his hardworking team for the excellent effort put into crafting this well-done 2016 budget.
Mr. Speaker, my government – yes, our government – took the reins at a critical juncture when the pillars of our economy – sugar, rice, bauxite, gold, etc. – were experiencing severe downturn. However, with vision and foresight, we were able to rise to the task and achieve some level of stability. We still have a long journey, but we have commenced this voyage.
Mr. Speaker, the struggle will be intensified and in this year’s presentation some very bold and imaginative steps have been highlighted; these will move the economy to higher levels of production and productivity.
Mr. Speaker, from the standpoint of my remit, there will be a concerted effort to ensure that roads, bridges, energy, power generation and other infrastructural works in the various regions will be expanded and developed. Further, no longer will there be separation. Rather, linkages will be forged and the rich resources with which Guyana is blessed will be made available to all for the benefit of the nation.
Mr. Speaker, I am glad that I am part of a team which is working assiduously to transform this land of ours to a “Heaven here on earth”.
Thus, the relevance of the theme of the 2016 budget, “Stimulating Growth, Restoring Confidence; the Good Life Beckons”, cannot be understated. What is it saying to me? It is saying, Mr. Speaker, in regard to “stimulating growth”, that my government and my Ministry after I took office, embarked on a policy to put in place systems to ensure transparency and accountability as soon as it was assembled. Previously, chaos reigned.
Some of the steps taken were:
· All projects were publicly advertised with more effective supervision and monitoring devices being implemented
· The upgrade and tightening of evaluation procedures
· And the establishment of the National Task Force Project
These are just a few of the steps taken to stimulate growth.
In regard to restoring confidence, Mr. Speaker, after taking up the necessary measures of stimulating growth, my Ministry has and will be taking steps to restore confidence by proposing the establishment of the Inspectorate Division, which will be implemented this year.
· Furthermore, the Guyana/Brazilian hydropower initiatives will be vigorously pursued as well as other smaller hydropower units.
· Greater initiatives will be taken this year with regard to hinterland roads, airstrips, and bridges upgrades as well as other infrastructural works, especially in the four new townships of Bartica, Mahdia, Lethem and Mabaruma.
· Efforts will also be taken to carry out studies to build the Southern corridor, taking on a phased approach.
· The continuation of the works of the National Task Force, coupled with the work of the Georgetown Restoration Project will also be a priority.
These are but a few of the many projects to restore confidence.
Mr. Speaker, to stimulate growth and restore confidence, my Ministry wholeheartedly joins with other Ministries to usher in this truly dynamic process. This process is one that will engender in all a spirit of togetherness and oneness as Guyana moves forward. We must create new blessings for all of our people in a rapidly flourishing economy where the “good life beckons”.
Mr. Speaker, I will now review the performance of my Ministry in 2015 and give a projection for the year 2016 and onwards.
But, before I do, permit me a few minutes to respond to a few misleading statements recently made by members of the opposition.
Mr. Speaker, since taking office it has been my mandate to foster transparency, accountability, and partnership for the development of Guyana. On assuming office, I dispatched a letter to the Honourable Leader of the Opposition requesting that he identifies the Shadow Minister of Public Infrastructure, no response was received until November, 2015, despite this an invitation was extended for the Honourable to join me in a review of the ministry’s 2015 program, as well as share a press conference on the contents – to date the Ministry has not received any response.
In addition, offers made by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure for membership on the various Boards that fall under the purview of the Ministry were not taken up by the Parliamentary Opposition.
This is rather unfortunate and regrettable. Why would the opposition refuse to have a representative on important boards such as GPL, GEA, or the GCAA?
Mr. Speaker,263 street lights were removed for the period May to December 2015 by the Guyana Power and Light Inc. Additionally, 222 from Bath, 11 from Bush Lot, and 30 from Blairmont; these removals were due to non-payment.
Mr. Speaker, in relation to the statements made by the Honourable Members Hamilton, Dharamlall, and Burton that the Ministry of Public Infrastructure has not conceptualised any new projects of its own, I wish to highlight, Mr. Speaker, a number of projects that has been identified for implementation by the Ministry. These projects are being funded by the Government of Guyana and the UK-Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (DFID) and focus on stellings and wharf development; waterfront development; port development; and airstrips and aerodromes development (Just this morning, I received positive confirmation on this grant). These developments are estimated to cost $6.596 billion Guyana dollars.
Stellings and wharf development – $1.948 billion Guyana dollars
Upgrade and rehabilitation of the following facilities:
· Parika (Region #3) – $472.5M
· Port Kaituma (Region #1) – $1.102B
· Kumaka (Region #1) - $157.5M
· Bartica (Region #7) - $315M
Water front development
Construction and rehabilitation of the following facilities:
· T&HD stelling (Georgetown) - $315M
· Collapsed Stabroek Market Wharf - $472.5M
· Construction of concessions and construction of floating ramp to accommodate speedboats - $157.5M
· Construction of a fixed ramp to bridge T&HD Stelling and the rehabilitated Stabroek Market Wharf - $157.5M
· Proposed the acquisition of a dredge to clear the channels in Port Georgetown - $2.520B
Airstrips and Aerodromes development (in Regions 7, 8, and 9) – 1.260B
· Mahdia (Region #8)
· Ekeruku Bottom (Region #7)
· Lethem (Region #9)
· Resurfacing of Bartica Airstrip (Region #7)
Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure has already published advertisements inviting technical proposals (including conceptual designs) and financial proposals from suitably qualified individuals and consulting firms and these advertisements have attracted interest as far as Europe; bids are expected by the end of February 2016. This project will see land reclamation, and a boardwalk powered by renewable energy all scheduled to be completed by next year. $2.520 billion dollars is allocated to this project.
All of these developments will create employment and major economic input into these Regions. It is our Government’s commitment that the residents and current users will be given first option to jobs and concessions.
Mr. Speaker, the other projects also being undertaken under the DFID Fund are the Reconstruction of the Wismar Bridge; the reconstruction of the Mahaicony branch Road; and the construction of the Parika – Goshen Road, which would be executed in phases. GY$2.398 billion Guyana dollars has been set aside under this fund to commence construction.
Mr. Speaker, in response to Honourable Member Ganga Persaud’s claims that the budget for region 8 has been significantly reduced, permit me, Mr. Speaker, to firmly refute this. Mr. Speaker, in 2015, the sum of $257.9M was expended on internal roads and the airstrip in Mahdia. The Brian Sucre Junction to Mahdia was also rehabilitated.
Furthermore, in 2016, the sum of $433M was identified to continue works at these same areas. This means that for 2015 and 2016, nearly $700M will be expended by the Ministry for region 8. Honourable Member Persaud, unless I am mistaken, $700M is an impressive figure.
Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, in keeping with the nation’s goal of a green economy, has budget $133M for the acquisition and preparation of a site for the storage of derelict vehicles. This land, of approximately 50 hectares, is located along the Soesdyke Highway and will facilitate compaction and storage of the derelict vehicles picked up across the country. This is under the Guyana Restoration Project.
Mr. Speaker, claims from the members of the opposition that the Ministry of Public Infrastructure has not publicised its projects are erroneous. This information can easily be accessed on the Ministry’s website and is very detailed. For example, under the Works Services Group, details of multi-year contracts are available on the website. The information provided includes project title/location; Tender Board reference number; name of the contractors; contract cost; estimated expenditure as of recently as December 31, 2015; estimated amount due as at December 31, 2016; start date of projects; and duration. The information publicly provided even includes the status of the projects as well as remarks. This information is made public to boost the Ministry’s and ultimately the Government of Guyana’s transparency and accountability, which are important pillars in the APNU+AFC Government’s vision.
Potholed streets in Georgetown; impassable bridges in Port Kaituma; bumpy airstrips across the hinterland. These, and countless other undeveloped infrastructure, have impeded Guyana’s development.
In his budget presentation on January 29, Finance Minister, Honourable Winston Jordan, noted the Government’s recognition of these impediments and said that the 2016 budget placed a high priority on infrastructural development.
This is true and is evident in the allocation of $30.641B for the Ministry of Public Infrastructure. This figure is broken up into a current provision of $7.305B and a capital provision of $23.336B.
While achievements were made in 2015 under the Public Infrastructure Ministry, it was recognised that much more needed to be done. Rather, under the theme of “Stimulating Growth, Restoring Confidence: The Good Life Beckons”, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure was allocated 13.2% of the total budget to move the “good life” concept from words to reality.
Works Services Group
The Works Services Group, the largest agency in the Public Infrastructure Ministry, has responsibility for the execution of all foreign and nationally funded projects falling under the Ministry.
One such project, which has the potential for major development in Guyana, is the East Bank Demerara Four Lane Expansion Project, funded by the IDB. This project was awarded in three Lots. All three contracts were signed on October 3, 2011 with a commencement date of November 1, 2011 and completion date of April 30, 2013.
Thus far, Lots 2and 3 – Vreed-en-Rust to Great Diamond – have been completed and the defects liability period ends in the 2nd quarter of 2017.
Meanwhile, Lot 1 – Providence to Covent Garden with a length of 2.65km – was awarded to Dipcon Engineering Services at a price of US$8M. The Contractor had only completed 59% of the contract when he effectively ceased all works in May 2015 – two years after the project was scheduled for a completion date of April, 30, 2013. Following discussions with the contractor, an agreeable settlement was reached on August 16, 2015 and the contract was terminated.
The outstanding portion of work in Lot 1 is being pursued with the relevant authorities for completion by the contractors who successfully completed Lots 2 and 3. The IDB and NPTAB gave their ‘no objection’ thus this section will be completed by the end of the second quarter. The remaining section of the lot will be awarded shortly.
Another important project is the Sheriff – Mandela Avenue Project funded by the IDB and signed on March 15, 2013.
This project has encountered considerable delays since the signing of the Loan Agreement in 2013. On two occasions, following public advertisement and the evaluation of bids, the process had to be annulled since none of the companies fulfilled the evaluation criteria specified in the Bidding Documents.
Having regard to the scope of works in relation to this project, the Government of Guyana has decided to review the various components under the project in order to determine whether there should be any adjustments taking into consideration the present configuration of Sheriff Street/ Mandela Avenue. In this regard, the Design Section of the Works Services Group has already commenced this exercise.
In the 2016 Budget a sum of $580M has been provided for this project.
For the East Coast Demerara Expansion Project, there will be major road works from Better Hope to Belfield. The scope of works includes a four lane expansion from Better Hope to Annandale and a two lane upgrade from Annandale to Belfield.
In regard to the Fourth Road Project – Vreed-en-Hoop to Hydronie (30.7 Km) CDB Funded,this contract was awarded in January 2015 for a duration of 3 years. For road works under this project, the cost is US$44,3M while the other components of US$2,5M caters for a School Road Safety Education Programme.
As of December 2015, road works under this project was approximately 20% completed while expenditure as of December 31, 2015 was US$15.3M.
Under budget 2016, G$2.369B was provided for the continuation of this project. Road works is expected to be completed by December 31, 2017.
Also in 2015, a number of Foreign Funded Studies were commissioned. These are:
· East Bank Berbice Road, Region 6 – The Feasibility Studies have been completed for Phase 2 Stanleytown to Everton. The Ministry is presently awaiting IDB’s ‘No Objection’ in order to proceed with the tendering for the civil works to commence.
· East Bank Demerara Road – Grove to Timehri – Feasibility studies have been completed.
· Urban Transport Studies – This study is intended to develop a specific diagnostic of the urban Transport situation, problems and trends and provide recommendations. The Terms of reference have been approved, Consultants have been shortlisted and proposals are expected to be submitted shortly.
Other feasibility studies to be undertaken are Linden/Soesdyke Highway, Ituni/Kwakwani Road, Wismar Bridge, East Coast Railway Embankment in 2016. All these Studies fall under the IDB portfolio.
Miscellaneous and Urban Road 2015
Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure through the Works Services Group has been constructing, rehabilitating, and maintaining roads and bridges in Regions 1 to 6 and 10.
· For 2015 budget, G$509M and G$570M were awarded under the Miscellaneous and Urban Roads Programmes, respectively. A total of 32 Urban Roads and 51 Miscellaneous Roads were awarded to various contractors. All works are expected to be completed in the second half of 2016.
· The preliminary design for the Parika/Goshen Road was completed and the final designs are now being reviewed.
Budget 2016 has provision for Miscellaneous Roads in the sum of $1,425.626B and Urban Roads in the sum of $1,164.487B.
In 2015, 24 bridges were rehabilitated/repaired at a total cost of $83.119M. These included bridges in Moleson Creek; Mahaica; Linden/Lethem; North Sophia; and the Essequibo Coast.
In the 2016 budget a total sum of $293.416M has been provided for rehabilitation/repairs to Bridges under both the current and capital programmes.
CDB 3rd Sea Defence Project – Sea and River Defence Resilience Project
The Government of Guyana and the Caribbean Development Bank signed an agreement in April 2014 to enhance the resilience of Guyana’s sea defence systems to a variable and changing climate. However, there was a laxity in pursuing pre-conditions. As a result, this project commenced in the last quarter of 2015 when all pre-conditions were satisfied.
Nationally Funded Sea and River Defence Works
Despite the significant investments to rehabilitate sections of Guyana’s sea defence system, the 2014 survey of Guyana’s sea defence structures, which covered 91.2% of the total length, shows that 2.28km (1%) is in critical condition, 20.53km (9%) is poor and 80.22km (34.4%) is in fair condition.
Rehabilitation of the critical and poor sections of the sea defence structures are being executed on a phased basis.
In 2015 a total sum of $1,274.084B was provided for Sea and River Defence and at the end of December 2015 the sum of $1,270.370B was expended. These works were done throughout Guyana, including at Wakenaam and Scottsburg, Corentyne, among others.
In 2016, a sum of $1,383.786M has been provided for Sea and River Defence Works. Among some of the major projects identified are the construction of rip rap river defences in Wakenaam; Blenheim, Leguan; Islington, Berbice; and Waller Delight, West Coast Demerara, among others.
In 2015 the Ministry ramped up on its road safety efforts and placed more barriers and road signs along the main access roads. The Ministry also placed more road signs around Georgetown.
A new traffic light at Bel Air and Embankment was also installed in 2015 and will be commissioned this month. To date, there is a total of 51 traffic lights. Most importantly, persons with disabilities are catered for and sound devices have been installed to notify pedestrians when it is safe to cross.
In the 2016 budget, GY$28.6M was budgeted for traffic lights. The objective is to improve the areas along highways and junctions considered vulnerable to accidents.
In addition, areas such as the vicinity of CARICOM Building; 5-Corner Junction in Linden; and Corriverton, among others, are being examined for the installation of traffic lights.
Mr. Speaker, all these projects are in conjunction with the measures in the Budget to restrict the importation of used/reconditioned vehicles to under eight (8) years old from the date of manufacture to the date of importation, as well as, the ban on importation of used tyres will definitely boost road safety in Guyana. In 2015 there were 118 deaths on our roads; if one life is saved, then we regard this as a worthwhile measure.
Mr. Speaker, in keeping with our policy of linking the hinterland to the coast, the Government has embarked on a programme to rehabilitate the major road network in the hinterland regions. These roads are intended to facilitate access to those areas where our natural resources are located so as to assist our extractive industry production, which presently contributes significantly to the growth of the economy.
These roads also facilitate greater connectivity between coastland and hinterland. For instance, areas such as Madhia, Lethem and Bartica have seen over the years an increase in commercial activities and in some instances a hub for persons travelling via land from Brazil for mining purposes.
The Parika–Goshen Road is situated on the eastern bank of the Essequibo River and is located in Regions 3 and 10. Bartica is being developed into a Town and channels significant mining operation traffic thereby being a central transaction hub – the Gateway to the Interior.
In 2015 the following works were carried out in Regions 1, 7 and 9: a total of 801.2 Km at a total cost of $732.027M.
Mr. Speaker, the closure of the Wales Estate was unfortunate, since this Government considers Region 3 (West Bank Demerara) as our “Next Frontier for Development”. Therefore, feasibility studies will be conducted on expansion of the “Free and Easy to Sand Hill Section”. This area is earmarked for an Industrial/Business Estate, housing and agriculture development – coupled with the new demerara River Crossing. Soon, the residents of this area will be the “Pioneers of our New Frontier”.
In 2016 a sum of $1.702B has been provided for continuation of the rehabilitation of hinterland roads. This sum will include roads in Bartica; Mahdia; Ituni – Kwakwani; and Cassandra Crossing.
In 2015, the sum of $60M was provided in the Budget for the rehabilitation of the Prime Minister’s Residence and the reconstruction of the Umana Yana, which cost $22M and $38M respectively. At the end of 2015, the entire amount for the Prime Minister’s Residence was expended ($19.1M on the building and $2.9M for paving of the compound with asphalt). For the Umana Yana, at the end of the year the entire sum was spent on foundation works and procurement of materials for construction.
In 2016, a sum of $200M has been provided:
· The rehabilitation of nine buildings
· The completion of the Umana Yana (benab)
· The completion of the Hon. Prime Minister’s Residence ($171,000)
Cheddi Jagan International Airport Corporation
In 2015, the Cheddi Jagan International Airport Corporation had another successful year and discharged its functions in keeping with its mandate.
Last year, a total number of 504,032 passengers were flown, compared to 478,092 in 2014. This represents a 6% increase compared to 2014. International passenger arrivals for 2015 was 250,012 or 6% higher than 2014.
Meanwhile, in regards to cargo, imported cargo in 2015 amounted to more than 3.4 million kilogrammes, compared to over 3.2 million kilogrammes in 2014.
In regards to finances, The Airport Corporation collected revenues in excess of G$1Bn for 2015. The income in 2015 has almost doubled in the last six years.
Of the income collected, $418M was transferred to the Consolidated Fund in 2015 compared to $393M in 2014.
Expenditure for 2015 was $761M as compared to $687M spent in 2014. This increase can be attributed to increase in staffing and additional maintenance work in the Terminal Building and Other Infrastructure.
Procurement of Ambulance
In 2015 an Ambulance was acquired by the Cheddi Jagan International Airport Corporation to assist the Port Health Authority with any medical emergency at the Airport. There is now 24 hours staffing for the Port Health facilities. Ten Drivers were trained on the use of the Ambulance by personnel from the Ministry of Health.
In 2015, a total of 191.6kg of cocaine was intercepted at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport. This represents an increase in the amount of drugs detected last year, which totalled 185kg.
Overseas, a total of 86kg of drugs was detected with a Guyana origin. This can be compared to 126kg for last year. These detections were made mainly in the United States of America, among other countries.
Airport Expansion Project
Mr. Speaker, during Honourable Minister Jordan’s budget speech, he shared that an allocation of $5.2 billion has been made for the continued development of the air services industry, including the expansion of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.
Mr. Speaker, this project has been redefined by the Government of Guyana and is now scheduled to be completed by 2017.
By the end of 2015 the following changes were made to the project scope:
· The existing Terminal Building will be renovated and extended.
· The Runway will be extended the same length on both sides.
· Construction of one Code E remote parking position.
In the 2016 Budget, $4.450B has been provided for continuation of the Airport expansion Project.
In addition, $25M has been allocated for the acquisition of a cargo scanner for the CJIA Corporation.
Guyana Energy Agency (GEA)
Mr. Speaker, the Government of Guyana is committed to the promotion of a clean and renewable energy drive for a Green Economy. With a primary focus and development of hydro-electricity, this would be a more reliable and cost effective form of renewable energy.
Mr. Speaker, the Guyana Energy Agency, which is the body with primary responsibility for energy, made a number of accomplishments in 2015 and, in Budget 2016, GEA has been allocated the sum of $7.97M for renewable energy projects in schools and hinterland hydropower system.
In regards to petroleum products, just over 5 million barrels of petroleum-based products were imported in 2015, representing an average of 13,703 barrels per day. This represents a 1.27% increase when compared to 2014. Petroleum imports for the year were acquired at a CIF value of US$355.201M, representing a decrease of 36.76% from that of the previous year. Twenty-six percent (26%) or 834,056 barrels (2,285 bpd) of total imports were obtained under the Petro Caribe Agreement during 2015.
For solar energy, Mr. Speaker, GEA has built their capacity for installing PV grid tide system. 1,164 Kw of solar photovoltaic capacity has been installed, producing 2,125 Mwh of energy annually.
Mr. Speaker, the agency would embark on installing additional capacity at its head office and the proposed new towns of Bartica and Mabaruma.
For hydropower, the Ministry has already met with the Brazilian company, Construtora Queiroz Galvão, which is interested in continuing its hydropower project here in Guyana in Mazaruni, Region #7.
In regards to wind energy, GEA continued to monitor and record wind data (speed and direction) at four sites: Port Mourant, Kumu, Mahdia, and the University of Guyana. GEA also assisted HECI in selection and evaluation of fifteen potential wind sites along Guyana’s coast where the best four will be chosen to carry out wind measurements. Negotiations are continuing with the Guyana Wind Farm Inc.
Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure is committed to energy efficiency and among the initiatives undertaken by the Ministry are replacement of 37 high pressure sodium vapour street lamps at a cost of $1.173M; 65 LED street lamps at a cost of $1.468M; and the replacement of 300 defective photo sensors on street lights at $18.2M.
Fuel Marking Programme
Under the Fuel Marking Programme, of the 12,227 total site visits conducted during the year, 1,446 sites were sampled at least once. 37 (3%) of the sites sampled at least once were found with significant dilution (defined as more than 50%) in at least one tank.
There were 25 joint operations with members of the Task Force on Fuel Smuggling and Contraband. The Fuel Marking Programme recorded nine (9) convictions in 2015. Five new charges were filed. Two matters were dismissed of which one was appealed.
Guyana Power and Light Inc.
Mr. Speaker, the Guyana Power and Light Company Inc. has had many challenges and a number of complaints in relation to its service delivery. In an effort to address these the following initiatives will be undertaken this year:
1. Installation of a new Board, which has already been done. It is expected that there should be an improvement in the management of the Corporation, as well as, the quality of service to its users.
2. Electrification Programme supported with a loan of US$5M from the IDB.
For 2012 to 2015, GPL’s actual expenditure was US$2,176,229.93. Additionally, for 2016, a number of activities have been budgeted to the sum of G$550M. Among the activities are:
· The rehabilitation of the low voltage distribution network (phase) 2 in regions 4, 5, and 6, to the tune of G$522.310M
Mr. Speaker, with the increase in the rebate by GPL Inc. from 10% to 15%, residential, commercial, and industrial consumers will benefit from April 1, 2016. For residential consumers, totalling 166,000, the benefit is expected to be $7,000 each. Meanwhile, for commercial consumers, which number at 10,000, and industrial consumers, which number at 7,000, the benefits are expected to be $36,000 each and $1.5M each, respectively. The average saving is $17,000 each. These savings are anticipated to boost productivity.
Power Utility Upgrade Program
Mr. Speaker, the Government of Guyana entered into an agreement with the IDB in the sum of US$64.573. The agreement has three components: one, strengthening GPL’s management capabilities; two, operational efficiency; and three, infrastructure investments for loss reduction.
This programme will entail a number of activities including, the hiring of a consultancy firm to support GPL to improve performance in key business areas; the development of oversight and accountability mechanism; consultancy to change corporate culture and modernize management; and the acquisition of meters, accessories, and tools for baseline information and monitoring.
The current policy in place is that the Government of Guyana must fund the infrastructure for expansion into unserved areas. However, in agreement with the Ministry of Finance, Guyana Power and Light Inc. will now be required to fund some of the expansion works. To this end, during 2016, over 650 house lots will be provided with electricity for the first time at a cost of approximately $70M; other areas will be examined and implemented during the year.
The Government Electrical Inspectorate
The Government Electrical Inspectorate (GEI) is the electrical safety body within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure set up to protect users of electricity against the hazard of unsafe and unsound electrical installation. It is the Industry’s Electrical Safety regulatory body.
For 2015, GEI’s revenue was recorded at $6.683M and certified nearly 13,000 jobs out of 13,043 inspected jobs. Additionally, GEI issued 491 contractor licences; of these, 65 were new issuances; 17 were replacements; and 409 were renewed licences.
Additionally, electrical maintenance was carried out on the Ministry’s Buildings in 2015 and totalled $8.250M.
Meanwhile, the Government Electrical Inspectorate is requested by the Guyana Fire Service to carry out investigations on the cause of fires that occurred throughout the country, and to produce a report on the cause of such fires. Nine cases of fires were investigated by the GEI for the year 2015.
Mr. Speaker, with the presentation of an early 2016 Budget, we have a golden opportunity to execute our work programmes and thus fulfil promises we made to the electorate in our 2015 APNU/AFC Manifesto.
I, too, Mr. Speaker, would like to support the call for Hon. Members on the other side of this House to join us to build this beautiful country of ours together; in unity there is strength.
Mr. Speaker, in a fractured state, all of us count and fit somewhere. We have proven that we can survive without each other. But we have not proven that we can win and make progress without each other. We must come together and work together in the interest of all Guyanese and the greater good of the country.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, I wish to end with a quote from Mr. Henry Ford, the late President of Ford Motor Company in the United States of America. He said, “Coming Together is a Beginning; Keeping Together is Progress; and Working Together is Success”.
I thank you.