The Upper-Demerara-Upper Berbice region will once again have to play a pivotal role in deciding which political party will lead our country into this new era and decade of development on March 2. Region 10, particularly its capital town Linden, is one of the most envied voting blocs in Guyana and while it has historically remained an apple LFS Burnham founded and now David Granger-led People’s National Congress, it remains a scorn of the People’s Progressive Party even in this day and age of modernisation and inclusive governance.
The PPP’s angst for Linden dates back to the era of the famous political separation between Dr. Cheddi Jagan and Burnham — as the former infused race into the political sphere in order to solidify his support base– while the latter made concerted efforts to change this course by aligning himself with various ethnicities. All other PNC leaders that followed Burnham made resolute efforts to bridge the divide, while the PPP leaders who succeeded Dr. Jagan imbued race into every election to energise their base which reportedly was the majority.
After years of conflict which saw Indo-Guyanese supporting the PPP and Afro-Guyanese supporting the PNC, Dr. Jagan joined in the quest to bridge the racial divide during the latter part of his presidency, but this was short-lived with his passing. Region 10 which had largely supported the PNC was always out of favour with the PPP. In fact, the events of the 60s were intentionally distorted by the PPP for decades as a means of justifying the stigmatisation of the people of Linden. However, during recent elections the PPP attempted to hoodwink Lindeners into believing they cared for them just to win their votes by mouthing rhetoric of the 60s and spouting love and grandeur. 2011 is a perfect example; despite years of economic deprivation and marginalisation, several Lindeners were coerced into believing that the PPP cared as their loyalty had a price. What followed after the PPP was unable to significantly infiltrate Linden, was a massive thrust to cripple the region by its vengeful attempt to add more hardship on the people through the raising of electricity rates among other stifling measures.
The resolve of the people stood strong in defence and several lost their lives as the PPP’s bid to increase rates failed like their expensive water cannon. The overconfident PPP then continued their assault on the people through budgetary constraints and faced rejection through the polls in 2015. Five years later, the same PPP which mistreated the people of Linden and by extension Region 10, returns with tricks and promises. Their presidential candidate who boldly argued against the region’s budgetary allocations put forward by the coalition government, has changed his tune and is now declaring that he cares for Linden. To add further insult to the people of Linden, the PPP selected a prime ministerial candidate who showed no care or concern when the region was under siege by his dreaded party and who failed to help Lindeners when he was in a position to help.
How does the PPP expect any true Lindener or resident of Region 10 to believe their empty promises, when the region has seen significant improvements under the APNU+AFC government? How do they expect to erase memories of their dismantling of the region’s health and education sectors which were second to none? What excuse or justification could they offer with regard to the steam power station which the PPP took over in 1992 and later dismantled, despite the fact that it was better for more effective power generation? What would suffice to replace the years of economic deprivation and marginalisation suffered by residents, and, what promise could replace the lives of those who were exercising their democratic right at the Linden Bridge? Since history has shown the true nature of the PPP, it is now a foregone conclusion that Region 10 cannot sustain another round of adversity from the PPP and needs to produce over 85 percent voter turnout for the coalition.
Carwyn Holland, former Mayor Of Linden