“Don’t let us go back to the dark days”

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President David Granger and First Lady Sandra Granger being greeted by supporters on arrival at the Mabaruma Settlement Ground on Wednesday.

-President Granger urges Region One residents to reelect coalition
…says PPP-controlled RDC stymied development in region

By Alva Solomon
PRESIDENT DAVID GRANGER, on Wednesday, urged thousands of supporters of the APNU+AFC coalition at Mabaruma to ensure the “dark days” under the previous administration are not repeated, as he urged them to go out and vote next Monday to re-elect his government.

Jubilant supporters at the rally on Wednesday.

The President, who was accompanied by First Lady Sandra Granger, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Karen Cummings and other candidates of the coalition, was welcomed by the old and the young as they converged at the Mabaruma Settlement Ground on Wednesday afternoon at the multi-party’s last Hinterland rally before the final rallies in the city this weekend.

The President told the crowd ever since the 2015 regional and general elections when the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) won the chairmanship of the Barima-Waini region, development has been at a standstill.

He said the PPP has been casting the blame on his government for holding back development in the region but President Granger noted that the Barima/Waini region cannot progress with the PPP administrators at its helm.

“In 2015, the PPP got almost double the votes, 6228 and the APNU+AFC 2788 votes, a difference of over 3000 votes,” President Granger said. He said this year, the coalition cannot afford to lose.

A section of the crowd at the rally.

He said within 10 months of being elected President, he ensured Local Government Elections (LGE) were held after more than two decades. He said it was a move aimed at development of the main populated areas in the country, including Mabaruma. But the Guyanese leader noted that the coalition was disappointed at the support it received at the LGE in 2018.”Monday do not break the President’s heart, go out in your numbers and take control of the Regional Democratic Council,” he told the crowd of people clad in of green and yellow, noting that supporters should ensure that there is a 90% turnout in favour of the APNU+AFC.

The President said that, in 2015 when the Regional Chairmen were sworn in, he announced a Plan of Action for Regional Development (PARD) but noted that, in each region , including Region One, where the PPP won the chairmanship, that party has been in a “fight” with the APNU+AFC. ”But we cannot develop this country unless the RDC cooperates with the Central Government and the municipalities,” President Granger said, noting that the RDC at Mabaruma has been boycotting the plan of action.

Big Changes
Notwithstanding the boycott by the Opposition regional chairmen, President Granger said the coalition has been undertaking its mandate. “We have made big changes because the APNU+AFC cares about you,” President Granger said.

He said that he is concerned about youth employment and youth empowerment. He spoke of the Youth Corps which was resuscitated by his government, noting that former President Bharrat Jagdeo had shut down the Guyana National Service, a move which affected many youths. “They bruk it up I fix it back,” he said of the National Service.

President David Granger interacts with supporters

He said that 10,000 trained youths will be coming out of the unit within the next 10 years. ”Real leaders build, fake leaders take away opportunities from young people,” he said.
He also mentioned the Sustainable Livelihood Entrepreneurship Development (SLED) in which 2500 were able to benefit from the programme.

President Granger told supporters that the coalition is not a “flash in the pan” government but one focused on development of the people. He mentioned the 5’B’s programme also called the Public Education Transportation programme which has benefitted school children who are travelling to and from school free of cost. He said too that the school feeding programme undertaken by the government makes provisions for children to have hot meals at school.

No Fat Cats
The Guyanese leader said the monies from the oil sector will not go to “fat cats” but rather, the people, noting that the monies will go to families as cash grants.
President Granger said that two to three years ago he has been speaking of his plans and projects, as he noted that it is not an election gimmick, one which is usually practised only at elections time. President Granger told residents that he is in love with the region noting that he still believes that Region One should be the number one administrative region in the country.

Venezuelan migrants and security
The President said over the past few years, many migrants have been coming from Venezuela to settle in the North West District region mainly in search of food and shelter, a move which has been noted is accommodated by the government on humanitarian grounds. He said while many have good intentions, there are the bad ones within the migrants called the ‘Sindicatos.’

A section of the crowd at the rally

“I have a duty to protect the citizens of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana,” he said noting that a border village plan was created to beef –up security in the border areas of the country. He said a special division within the Guyana Police Force was created for each region under a regional action plan for public security, noting that the government will provide the Police Commander in the Barima/Waini with all the resources he needs to protect the residents. ”We welcome the Venezuelan migrants,” he said but noted that the Guyanese populace must be safe.

As he reminded residents of the importance of next Monday’s elections, President Granger told the residents of the region that they “deserve better” leadership as he noted that the PPP has failed to provide stewardship in the region while failing to build partnerships with the population there.

He said on Monday, residents have a choice to make as he urged them to support his government. ”All my certificates got the correct stamp,” he said as he took a swipe ad PPP’s Presidential Candidate, Irfaan Ali who has come under intense public pressure in recent months to provide evidence that his academic qualifications are authentic. “We are going to win in 2020,” he told the mammoth crowd, as he noted that the future of the region lies in the hands of residents. ”The PPP is beatable, this region is winnable,” he told the coalition’s screaming supporters.