‘We will continue to fight racism head-on’
PPP/C General-Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo
PPP/C General-Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo

–Jagdeo affirms, calls out opposition, agents for ‘stoking’ racism in Guyana
–says PNC has no gratitude or loyalty to Guyanese who ‘throw their belly out’ for them
THE General-Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), Bharrat Jagdeo, on Thursday called out the opposition and other agents for “stoking” racism in Guyana instead of working together towards national unity.

“The PPP has a history of confronting the most troublesome issues head-on and we will do so…We’re not whitewashing the historic racism, we’re confronting it,” Jagdeo said during a press conference at the party’s headquarters in Georgetown.

Recently, President, Dr Irfaan Ali has pledged to eliminate all “weapons of racism” that are directed at the government and its citizens, amidst a wave of racial tension being fuelled by opposition elements.

Dr Ali had called on the nation to stand strong against “forces” which are “hell-bent” on weaponising racial discrimination in Guyana.

However, on March 30, a Stabroek News editorial written by a “guest,” accused the PPP/C of whitewashing the history of racism in Guyana.

“We believe we have to fight racism head-on. So, it seems as though we were stepping on the toes of some people. Some self-righteous NGOs believe that they’re the only ones who can talk about racism,” Jagdeo said while addressing the editorial.

He added that these opposition elements “do nothing else in this country except stoking racism.”

The general-secretary went on to say: “They live for that. They don’t have constituencies. They want a divided country because it creates an opportunity for their own relevance and some newspapers and NGOs live on this.

“They’re praying that we’ll never have a multiracial party like the PPP in this country, and that it grows stronger and stronger, or that we don’t have national unity because they wouldn’t have a reason to exist.”

Jagdeo added that the editorial is one-sided because it did not make any mention of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) blatant “practising of racism.”
“They couldn’t find an editorial about the PNC racism. Every single utterance out of their mouth and the opposition has been about racism and demonstrates this. But one speech condemning racism and saying, “We are a party that will fight it with all of our strength and try to bring all of our people together” warrants an editorial, but not a single editorial about the daily occurrences of racism and the promotion of racism,” he said.

The general-secretary also called out the Leader of the PNC/R, Aubrey Norton for his “small thinking,” “petty mindedness” and the lack of constructive discourse.
He related that at the recent memorial at Babu Jaan, where a range of policy issues and developments were highlighted, Norton chose to address none of the above.
Instead, Norton attempted to debunk claims that he is not related nor has any ties with Keith Ferrier.

Ferrier provided evidence to support that he has close ties with Norton and even produced an old family photo showing them together with his other sibling.

“Now clearly what does this say to you about a leader? This is small thinking, petty-mindedness… As I said before, Norton is not cut from leadership cloth. You have a whole range of policy-making issues to address and to represent the alternative. And that’s all you are going to talk about?

“It demonstrated the morose nature of Mr Norton. His vindictiveness, the bitter side he has. He is now [SIC] ready to address serious matters and it tells you something else,” he said.

The general-secretary revealed that Ferrier was a key activist for the PNCR-led A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) during the 2020 elections and was questioned for arson in Linden. However, Jagdeo said that Ferrier has seen “the light” and had switched over to the PPP/C house.

“The fact is, he was a key activist for the PNC. And Mr Norton just threw him under the bus, now he’s a criminal. And I’ve said this before: the PNC has no gratitude or loyalty to Guyanese who throw their belly out for them. Work very hard for them. They did it with all their polling agents and said that the PPP bribed them.

“People who acted conscientiously for them. So, it tells you a lot about the PNC. That small comment that Mr Norton has demonstrated his vindictiveness…. We accused the PNC as a racist party. He has a hard time defending that because it is true racists,” Jagdeo said.

Norton is currently facing criticism for incendiary remarks made by the Working People’s Alliance (WPA). The PNCR-led APNU has also been accused of inciting racial tension and deviating from the promotion of peace and security in Guyana.

These accusations have caused significant concern among citizens who long for a united and peaceful Guyana.

On Sunday, at Babu Jaan, President Ali stressed that it is important for political leaders to prioritise the well-being of the country and its people, rather than engaging in divisive rhetoric that only serves to further polarise the nation.

“They only weaponise this one great asset that we have; the one great asset is our diversity as a people. It is not a negative; our diversity is a great asset to us, but there are those who cannot help themselves but weaponise this asset.

“Today, I say that no weapon formed in the clothing of racism will succeed, once this People’s Progressive Party is alive. And we don’t intend to die; we will stay alive. We will disband, destroy and completely wipe out the weapon of racism that continues to be used against the people of this country.

“And those who handle the weapon must understand that their days are numbered, and their days are coming to an end, because that weapon is being destroyed, globally. And that weapon will be buried here in Guyana,” President Ali said.

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