– President Granger tells Guyana Veterans Legion
“THERE is no way the PPP should be allowed to control security in this country again,” President David Granger said on Sunday as he recounted with members of the Guyana Veterans Legion (GVL) the grave atrocities which plagued Guyana under the leadership of the former administration.
The President had ventured to meet with the veterans ahead of the coming General and Regional Elections.
There, he acknowledged that several of those present, including himself, knew many of the persons who were murdered during the “decade of death” under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), also termed “ The Troubles.”
The President told the veterans his main concern with the GDF was its management under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) between 2000 and 2010, when many innocent Guyanese were killed in the decade of “The Troubles.”
“The ‘Troubles’ will be remembered as the darkest hour in our history. It was a time of the uninvestigated assassination of a minister; of the investigation into the alleged implication of another minister into the direction of a ‘death squad’; of the alleged implication of yet another minister in the acquisition of a computer to track the telephone communication and location of adversaries targeted for elimination. The decade was a time of arbitrary arrests; of disappearances and of torture of young men; of the surge in armed robberies, narco-trafficking and gun-running. During that first deadly decade of this millennium, there were 1,431 murders and 7,865 armed robberies,” the President said.
He said that the decade was a time when the PPP/C Administration rejected a £4.1 million Security Reform Programme by the United Kingdom; a time when now Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo invited felon Bernard Kerik to run security in the country and when recommendations of a security reform report were rejected.
The Head of State told the veterans that evidence of the impact of “man-made crisis” is still visible in the demoralisation of the public and security forces and the erosion of public trust.
“I cannot put that man in charge of the GDF again! I cannot allow him to manipulate the security service as he did. Right now I’m still trying to clean up the mess at the Police Force,” the President said, as loud cheers erupted from the audience.
He said those in the Legion who were there will remember the atrocities which took place, but now also have the responsibility of ensuring that Guyana never returns to such a dark period.
As members of the Legion participate in Guyana’s upcoming 50th Anniversary as a republic, he urged them to remember what the country was like, the changes made and the changes yet to be made to make Guyana a better place for future generations.
However, he said that improving on the past is “a job that never ceases” and the most relevant way that they can ensure that improvement continues in Guyana, is by casting their vote in support of the current administration.
“I read this [statement] to you not out of nostalgia, but to let you know that there is no way the PPP should be allowed to control security in this country again,” he said.
RESPECT FOR SERVICE
President Granger assured the gathering that his administration will continue to support the GVL as it has in the past and build on these efforts in the future.
One past effort he noted was the ordering of a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the living conditions of veterans and acting on the forthcoming recommendations.
It examined the conditions and circumstances facing veterans of the GDF, the Guyana People’s Militia and the Guyana National Service (GNS).
As Leader of the Opposition in 2013, President Granger had moved a motion in the National Assembly on November 21 calling for the establishment of a National Veterans’ Commission.
Although it became Resolution No. 60, it was not assented to by then President Donald Ramotar.
It was under the current administration that the National Veterans Commission was convened in 2016 with instructions to look into the living conditions of veterans and make recommendations for improvements.
Added to this, at the Legion’s Remembrance Ceremony in November 2019, when the President donated $1M to the welfare of the GVL, he made the pledge that the Veterans Act would be enacted in 2020.
The Act would see to it that benefits due to veterans will be placed on a sound, legal basis.
He also promised that a Veterans’ Trust will become an established means to save resources for the purpose of education, training and the re-settlement of veterans in society.
“There are many things that we have to do for the people of Guyana and I am committed not to a decade of decadence, not to a decade of death but to a decade of development,” the President said.
“But the question facing us is a question that we all have to answer. What type of country did we join the GDF to protect, to serve and defend? What type of county do we want our children and grandchildren to inherit?, he questioned.