…Ramjattan points to alleged corrupt track record of party, candidates
…rubbishes claims that elections will be tainted
SINCE the late 1990s, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has been increasingly losing ground, and its decision to appoint Mohamed Irfaan Ali as its Presidential Candidate has resulted in the situation further deteriorating, Prime Ministerial Candidate of the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) and Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, said on Wednesday.
Ali, already faced with 19 fraud charges for allegedly defrauding the State of over $174M, is now being pressured to make public his qualifications ahead of the March 2 General and Regional Elections. Just days ago, two citizens – Dianna Deravinee Rajcumar and Phillip Marcus – moved to the High Court seeking clarification on Ali’s qualification, which they alleged might be false. According to the PPP/C Presidential Candidate, he secured a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Planning from the Business College, West Demerara Chamber.
Ramjattan, while appearing on Guyana Chronicle’s online programme – Vantage Point, said Ali’s baggage is weighing the PPP/C down. In January, 2019, when Ali was selected as PPP/C’s Presidential Candidate, grassroots supporters had called for him to step down, and had contended that his ‘baggage’ will ‘sink’ the party’s chances of winning the upcoming elections.
For Ramjattan, Ali’s condemnation came as no surprise. “It is a move that had to be condemned,” he told this newspaper, explaining that unlike President Granger, who secured the full support of the APNU+AFC Coalition, the ex-government minister lacked the full support of the Executive of the PPP/C. According to him, Ali was “anointed” and “appointed” by Jagdeo, and the PPP/C is now grappling with the consequences of such a decision in light of the many allegations of fraud stacked against him.
“He doesn’t have a first degree; the degree came from some university in Uitvlugt called the West Demerara Institute or Chamber…and he has not denied that, neither has he, in any way, sued anybody,” Ramjattan said. He submitted that if Ali had a legitimate degree, as claimed, he would have moved to the courts and filed legal action for defamation of character.
According to Ramjattan, Ali now stands the risk of invalidating his other qualifications. “Now, you can have Masters, you can have PhDs but all collapse if you did not have the first degree because you would have lied to those institutions. We believe that it was a massive piece of deception. He lied to all the other members of his own leadership into thinking that he got his education,” the APNU+AFC Prime Ministerial Candidate reasoned.
JAGDEO TO BE BLAMED
Laying the blame at the feet of Jagdeo, who he described as a dictator, Ramjattan said the PPP/C had other candidates fit for the position but they were all bypassed. “There were other players who have genuine education – Vindhya Persaud, Frank Anthony – medical doctors [who are] very experienced politically,” the Public Security Minister posited.
Ramjattan, who was expelled from the PPP/C, said Jagdeo has long shown his scant regard for those persons who have laboured for the party, including the late President Janet Jagan, who had handed over the presidency to him in 1999. As such, he said the move to bypass candidates such as Dr. Frank Anthony and Anil Nandlall came as no surprise.
“He kicked out Moses Nagamootoo; he kicked out Ralph Ramkarran…So now we have a fella there, who would have done the decimation because remember, the PPP under the Jagans is a totally different entity under Jagdeo,” Ramjattan told this newspaper.
He proffered that while Ali is the PPP/C Presidential Candidate, it is Jagdeo who is “pulling the strings.” On one hand, he said, the APNU+AFC is providing Guyanese with credible and competent leadership, and on the other hand, the PPP/C is offering a “counterfeit, fake kind of leadership.”
ALLEGATIONS OF RIGGING
Ramjattan also rubbished allegations by the PPP/C that should the APNU+AFC Coalition win the elections, it would be due to rigging. “That is absolute nonsense. Elections after all the regulations and legal changes made after 1992 are beyond, beyond rigging. You will have the scrutineers for the various political parties at the polling stations. We would have scrutinised the list of voters; we have the machinery in the form of an independent GECOM…You can’t go and tell the GECOM Chairman what to do. President Granger nor Ramjattan nor Moses Nagamootoo can’t do that, neither can that be done by Bharrat Jagdeo or Irfaan Ali,” the APNU+AFC PM Candidate explained.
Added to that, he pointed to the fact that international observers from the European Union (EU), Organisation of American States (OAS), and the Carter Centre, among others, are already on the ground. He said Jagdeo, cognisant that the PPP/C will suffer another defeat, is crying ‘wolf, wolf.’
“Bharrat Jagdeo knows that he is going to lose the elections badly, and he wants to create the conditions for giving meat to his bate, that is to say, ‘I de tell y’all they rig the elections, that is why they win.’”
FREE AND FAIR POLLS
Maintaining that GECOM has assured the public of the conduct of free, fair and credible elections, the Public Security Minister said the APNU+AFC supporters and the Guyana Police Force have been cautioned not to fall prey to provocatory actions by the PPP/C. “We have been talking to our supporters, walk away. We have been even talking to the policemen, please do not provoke a situation at all, and try as best as possible to keep law and order in place,” he said.
He made it clear that the APNU+AFC Coalition is not in the business of rigging elections. Ramjattan said the government’s track record over the last four plus years is enough to secure another term in office. The APNU+AFC Government, he said, has significantly reduced crime, enhanced the delivery and access to education, improved infrastructure and healthcare delivery, and financially empowered the regular man in the street by significantly increasing the wages and salaries of public servants since taking office in May, 2015. Many PPP/C supporters, he said, are crossing over to the APNU+AFC Government.