RESIDENTS on the island of Leguan, Region 3, are confident that the incumbent People’s Progressive Party/Civic will return to office at the May 11 polls.
Pledging their support at a public rally Thursday evening on the island, they assured President Donald Ramotar, PPP/C’s Presidential Candidate, and Housing and Water Minister Irfan Ali that they will turn out in their numbers on polling day to cast their ballots in support of the PPP/C.
Supporters brightly decked out in the party colours of red, black and yellow, adorned the streets and themselves with replicas of the Party’s symbolic cup, chanting “Victory for the PPP/C! Progress must continue! The PPP/C in and we staying in!”
Welcoming President Ramotar and Minister Ali, the supporters led a parade from the Leguan Stelling through the streets in Leguan before gathering for a rally.
There Presidential Candidate for the PPP/C, Donald Ramotar, thanked them for their support and urged that they cast their ballots correctly next to the cup come election day.
“For me and the PPP being in Government is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. What we want to do fundamentally is to lift the quality of life of all the people of our country so that we can end poverty, end ignorance,” he said.
Explaining the prorogation of Parliament to the residents, Ramotar recalled that the Opposition loomed with a no confidence motion and “it means that the Parliament would have been shut down immediately, so I prorogued the Parliament.” He noted that he opted for prorogation to give people time to be registered and for the Guyana Elections Commission to accommodate people, “and with the new round of registration more than 7000 new persons came on the list.”
Ramotar also spoke about the challenges of the Tenth Parliament, such as the non-passage of the telecommunications bills, which would have allowed more companies to be involved in the telecommunication system and widen internet spread across the country.
“The Opposition refused to talk about that!”
The modernisation of education bill faced a similar fate, and this was a major setback, “because since 1966 we did not have a new bill to modernise education and we needed to align education with the needs of the people to create more jobs. And again the Opposition refused to talk.”
The anti-money laundering bill also did not attract the Opposition’s support, which is a spoke in the wheel of Government’s effort to fight terrorism and drug trafficking. “The international community can blacklist our country and if they do, all of us will suffer…two times they voted against the bill. They voted against the people…but they don’t care. They want power. When they vote against this bill they actually vote to support the criminals. This is the nature of the people we are dealing with,” he said.
Over the last three years, the Opposition’s efforts have stymied progress, Ramotar said, but in spite of these challenges and the global financial crisis, Guyana has progressed and recorded several years of consecutive economic growth.
“Internally, the Opposition has not lifted a finger. They did not use their one seat majority to promote development in Guyana. They did not say government you need to build more school, road, or hospital, or government you need to invest more in the productive sector. They never. Instead they used their one seat majority to try to cut $89 billion from the budget to prevent us from spending that money on you,” he said.
He said that the areas that came under the axe included the Amerindian Development Fund, the expansion of the airport, and student loans for students attending the University of Guyana.
“How can they come now and try to tell you they are interested in young people when, with their one seat majority, they tried to deprive young people of a tertiary education… the Opposition voted for that project in 2013 and we went and signed a contract to build a new airport, and in 2014 they voted against it and that means that if we did not put back the money we could have been sued by the company for billions of dollars for breach of contract, so the Opposition deliberately set out to put our country in harm’s way,” he said.
He told the supporters of other countries cutting corners, such as scaling down and closing their sugar industries to rally the economic down turn.
The President also spoke of several initiatives geared at improving people’s lives under his administration, including the $10,000 school children’s grant, and the provision of transportation, school meals and textbooks. He noted that progress is sure, but will take time because of the state Guyana was left in by the PNC Government.
Reading from an affidavit by Carl Grenidge, the Finance Minister under the PNC, Ramotar quoted Grenidge as saying “Guyana is one of the poorest countries of the world and the second poorest in the western hemisphere.
That is what the PNC, now calling themselves APNU, did to Guyana. When the coliation government in 1964 took power, Guyana was the most developed country of the English speaking Caribbean.”
Speaking about future plans for Guyana, the President said high on the list of priorities is the development of human resources, people’s quality of life, the country’s infrastructure, inclusive of air transport and tourism.
Taking the podium, Minister Ali told the gathering that the elections are about “the future of the country, the future of your children.” He took them back to the time in history when there was limited access to education and people living in Leguan suffered immensely.
“Today, right here in Leguan, not only do we have access to primary, but secondary education as well, and many young people from Leguan are attending the University of Guyana and Cyril Potter College of Education.
These are opportunities that you never had that your children and grandchildren have today. …things are not perfect we have work to do on the roads, sea defence and better management of the hospital, but we have improved,” he said.