‘If we have to fetch people on our backs we will do so’

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The People’s Progressive Party General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo addressing supporters at a public meeting held at Enmore held on Monday night

…Jagdeo vows to press on despite reduction in private residences as polling stations

DAYS before Guyanese go to the polls in general and regional elections, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo, is raging over the decision made by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to reduce the use of private residence as polling stations.

During a public meeting at Enmore, East Coast Demerara, Jagdeo told supporters gathered at the meeting that the decisions was an alleged attempt by the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) + Alliance for Change (AFC) and GECOM to rig the elections since he believes that many of the polling stations that were reduced were in PPP/C strongholds. “They [GECOM] gave us a list of polling places that the commission approved and then last week when we heard that there was a new list, when we saw this list in many PPP/C strongholds they had reduced the number of polling places and we have been waging a battle. I have made it clear that if this is not addressed on Wednesday you will see five thousand people in front of GECOM [protesting],” Jagdeo stated.

However, GECOM’S chairman, Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh, had told this publication that the decision to reduce the number of private residences as polling station is in keeping with recommendations from the Carter Center, shutting down allegations of voter suppression by the opposition. Justice Singh further added that, while the number of private residences has been reduced, the use of the public buildings has increased.

However, in reassuring the party’s supporters, Jagdeo further noted that if the decision is not corrected, the PPP/C will ensure that its supporters– young, old and disabled– get to the polling stations on March 02. “Even if we [don’t] get it fixed we will move every single person, if we have to hire 50 minibuses and fetch people on our backs we will do so; so that the PPP/C is elected…they don’t scare us, they don’t intimidate us, they don’t frighten us; we will stand up for the people of Guyana in this fight,” he stated.

The Party with a Plan

A section of the gathering at Enmore during a public meeting held on Monday night

Outlining the party’s plan if they should be returned to government, Jagdeo noted that the first action of the PPP/C will be to generate employment. “The first act is to create jobs, put people back to work now. How do we [do] that? We are going to reopen the sugar estates, comrades, right across the country, with the exceptions of wales; we have to do that to put those sugar workers especially in Berbice, they have to go back to work,” he stated.
Jagdeo further stated that the PPP/C will remove taxes from machinery equipment, from fertilizers, from pesticides and give back the concessions to industries so that rice farmers and sugar workers. The PPP/C, he added, will also invest in better drainage and irrigation systems for farm lands and improve the farm to market roads so farmers can work under improved conditions.

“If you reverse taxes, money will remain in peoples pocket to spend back on their families, in the markets and everywhere else; people complain that everything is slow and it is slow because the government is sucking out too many taxes from people’s pockets,” he stated.
Jagdeo further related to supporters gathered at the meeting that the party will reduce the cost of living by reducing the taxes on electricity and water bills. Promising supporters that the PPP/C will double the old age pension to $40,000 a month and increase the school children cash grant to $50,000, Jagdeo noted that revenues for the said plans will come from the country’s oil and gas sector. He added that, with the monies earned from the oil and gas sector, the PPP/C will pour such back into the health sector to ensure that Guyanese across the country are receiving the best health care. Additionally the PPP/C will also do same with the education sector to provide free education from nursery to the tertiary level as well as provide scholarships for the youths of Guyana.