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Opposition bemoans discrimination in cash grant distribution

Cash grant distribution (Stabroek News photo)

The Leader of the Opposition Joseph Harmon is estimating that some $1.5 billion has been “squandered” from the some $7 billion allocated for COVID-19 relief.

He is also estimating that large pockets of Guyanese in various regions are still without the government’s $25,000 cash grant as he blames this on state sponsored discrimination.

When the Leader of the Opposition addressed the media during his weekly press briefing on Friday, he called on the Audit Office of Guyana to release the results of its audit of the cash grant, “We would like to see an audit of these funds,” Harmon said, “because it is our belief that close to $1.5 billion in this amount was siphoned off for political purposes and so we want to see that audit.”

Harmon said that his office has done “calculations” based on the household surveys, the number of households in the country and projected amount of the grant that was expected to be distributed, “Even when you add, administrative costs to this exercise, you close to $1.5 billion short,” Harmon claims as he said his office anxiously awaits the audit of this grant.

The Leader of the Opposition also cited discrimination in the distribution of the grant. He identified Region one, “a total of 376 households in that region did not receive the grant, 101 households did not receive the pink slip,” Harmon claims,  “275 households received pink slips, the problem here, is that a resident in that region is now in possession of a yellow envelope with a significant amount of the completed pink slips, these pink slips should have been in the government’s possession, so as to ensure that the households, receive their cash, but this is not to be.”

Harmon said that “data” from Regions 4 and 10 have shown that thousands of persons are yet to benefit from the cash grant.

“It shows that an average of five persons per household, almost 9000 persons including single parents, women and children will suffer,” Harmon said, ” “President Ali you cannot speak of one Guyana when the regime’s policies are grounded in discrimination and negligence,” Harmon declared.

The first phase of the distribution of the grant ended and the second phase will commence soon.