…President points to sharp drop in party’s votes in past elections
…tells New Amsterdam rally Freedom House in worst leadership crisis ever
By Lisa Hamilton
THE People’s Progressive Party’s (PPPs) support base in Berbice has been on the decline since 2001 and, knowing this, the party is ‘running scared’, President David Granger told a massive New Amsterdam rally Monday night. He said, too, that the party is in its worst leadership crisis yet, with an unpopular presidential candidate who is facing 19 criminal charges and accusations that he faked his qualifications.
On Monday, at the APNU+AFC rally in New Amsterdam, the President stated: “In 1997, the PPP got 52,000 votes in this Region; in 2001, the PPP got 47,000 votes; in 2006, they got 42,000 votes… in 2015, they got 39,000 votes. The PPP heading out!”
The President said that the PPP knows that it is in serious trouble as it is losing support but this does not mean that the Region must be taken for granted. Explaining the need for alertness, the President pointed out that in 2015, out of some 91,000 eligible voters, only 68 per cent of the people in the Region cast their votes. This meant that some 28,000 persons in the Region did not vote in an election which saw the coalition losing the Region by some 17,000 votes.
“We lost this Region by default,” he said. “APNU+AFC only got 35 per cent whereas the PPP got 63 per cent. I tell you — I believe it — if some of those people who didn’t vote had come out to vote for the APNU+AFC, we would have won this Region hands down.”
Winning the Region, the Head of State explained, is important as it would ensure that its Regional Democratic Council (RDC) is managed by APNU+AFC members who want to see development in the Region despite who they choose to support. “The PPP is in decline, they are weak and we have to take advantage of this moment,” he said. “This is an important Region which can be developed if you have an RDC which is committed to development. That is why the APNU+AFC must take control of the Region.”
THE ONES WITH A PLAN
Speaking from the large podium to a crowd of supporters, President Granger said that the PPP never possessed a plan to develop the Region of three towns, which has the potential to become “an engine of growth” under good leadership. He reminded that the Region was divided into green and red villages under the former Administration which saw many communities being neglected simply for their support of new leadership. However, he told the people: “Elections are not about race; elections are about service to the people and we serve the people regardless of their race, regardless of their religion.”
Describing the PPP as “riding a donkey in a race that is for thoroughbreds”, President Granger noted that even the party’s proposed leaders lack the approval of its supporters. “They are in the worse leadership crisis in their history. I have never before seen posters, pamphlets by PPP members criticizing the selection of its members. It is happening now,” the President said. When PPP Presidential Candidate, Irfaan Ali was selected in January 2019, there was outrage amongst grassroots supporters. They contended that Ali’s “baggage” would “sink” the party’s chances of winning the upcoming General and Regional Elections. The ex-minister was slapped with 19 counts of fraud in November 2018 and the charges laid were indictable.
On the other hand, President Granger stated that the APNU+AFC has a plan for the region which includes the modernising of the New Amsterdam waterfront with a deep-water harbour; the development of industrial parks, manufacturing centres and some 39 heritage sites; the regularisation of squatter settlements in key areas such as Angoy’s Avenue; improved medical facilities and ridding the Region of piracy attacks.
Trail of chaos
Meanwhile, the President said that the PPP left a trail of chaos in its 23 years of management such as the Albion and Skeldon sugar factories which became the “newest museums in the hemisphere” and the Donald Ramotar-led failed fiber optic cable project. Saying that the region has been mismanaged by the PPP, President Granger said that it is too important to be placed into the hands of the PPP again. He said that residents of Region Six deserve a good quality of life.
President Granger again touched on PPP Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo’s criticisms of his age and for being a retired Brigadier, telling the rally that Guyanese are no longer impressed by low jabs but want to see real change from real leaders. He urged citizens not to be distracted by the party’s antics in its push for control of Guyana’s oil but be ready to vote for the continuation of progress on March 2, 2020. “He sees the oil dream going farther away. Oil is going to come into the hands of the people of this country and not into the hands of a few greedy men. We have to break the PPP stranglehold of East Berbice-Corentyne; we have to set this Region free,” President Granger declared.