…Granger no “Sunday School boy”- PPP
Two major political parties on Wednesday complained to the Organization of American States (OAS) claiming recent statements by President Bharrat Jagdeo could spur unrest, months before general elections are scheduled to be held.
And the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) yesterday insisted that attempts by the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) to distance its Presidential Candidate, David Granger, from his role as one of the chief enforcers of its party paramountcy ideology during his rule of the army in the 1970s, will not work.
Both PNCR and the Alliance For Change (AFC) met with OAS Assistant Secretary General, Albert Ramdin, and his team on Wednesday, to lodge the complaints.
Yesterday, government spokesman, Dr. Roger Luncheon, said that it is hardly likely that the statements by the President could be retracted, even if the matter went to the OAS.
The official preferred the matter to remain more of a domestic one that could be handled on a bilateral level.
According to the AFC, the recent “cuss down” of the opposition was filled with racial overtones at Babu John, Berbice, and the recent order to “shoot to kill” at the Police Annual Convention were both alarming and dangerous precursors for unrest in an election year.
According to the AFC, such language in an election year is viewed as inciting and outright racist.
The party said that it took the opportunity to remind the visiting OAS officials about the media blackout that the AFC has been experiencing and the unwillingness of the PPP administration to ensure that the media space is fair and open.
Asked whether the AFC would like to see the Media Monitoring Unit established for the upcoming elections, the AFC said it agreed and stressed that “the MMU is critical to the election period and would help to strengthen democratic values.”
Specifically, the AFC disclosed, it brought attention to the “untenable” situation concerning its paid advertisements that are being refused by the state media; non-coverage of its press events; the blockage of a private television station in Linden and the monopoly of the radio waves by government.
“The OAS was keen on the issue of the funding that was never received for AFC scrutineers after the PPP and PNC wrangled it away. The OAS noted AFC’s position and pledged to ensure it does not reoccur. While many of its supporters and volunteers understood the circumstances; it was a major injustice to the AFC.”
Representing the AFC, which has five seats in Parliament, were Khemraj Ramjattan, Presidential Candidate; Raphael Trotman, Party Leader; Latchmin Punalall, Member of Parliament, and Salaudeen Nausrudeen, Campaign Director.
According to the PNCR in its release, Ramdin was briefed on the party’s recently concluded Special Delegates Congress at which Granger was democratically elected as its Presidential Candidate for the upcoming General and Regional Elections.
PNCR’s Leader, Robert Corbin also briefed the OAS official on the recent “malicious statements made by President Bharrat Jagdeo at Babu John, Port Mourant during the PPP annual observance of the late Cheddi Jagan.”
The party said that it made it clear that the statements were provocative and could re-ignite racial conflicts.
PNCR claimed that “this is not the first occasion on which the Head of State used a public forum to make wild accusations, maliciously misinterpret events and mislead the public thereby promoting social instability.”
Sections of society and specific communities have already complained of racial tensions since the Head of State’s ramblings at Babu John, the OAS representatives were told. Granger also noted that “such irresponsible and uninformed statements by the Head of State could have serious national consequences after years of relative calm.”
Also representing the party was General Secretary, Oscar Clarke.
“Sunday school boy”
But the PPP, in its own statement yesterday, lashed back at Granger, saying that the former army chief “is now pretending to be innocent to his participation in the loss of lives in the Berbice Martyrs and rigged elections in Guyana during the PNC regime. It is blatant dishonesty for Granger and the PNCR to now deny his involvement in these well documented despicable acts which stripped Guyanese of their dignity.”
According to the ruling party, the PNCR is trying to present Granger as a “Sunday school boy knowing fully-well that by his own admittance of holding a 40-year membership in the PNC, he loyally carried out the biddings of the PNC administration.”
Granger’s entire career in the army was full with professional misconduct as an accomplice to numerous oppressive and retrogressive policies during the “dictatorial rule” of the PNC, the party said.
“The PPP is convinced that no amount of window-dressing could cloud the reality of Granger’s tainted character as the undertaker of the PNC’s biddings as still recorded as Guyana’s most brutal dictatorial regime which survived on the rigging of elections, intimidation and the muzzling of the press.”
Granger, the PPP statement stressed, is a bad role model to the young generation since he was part and parcel of the PNC scheme to destroy the institutional integrity of the state.
“He should stop hiding behind Corbin and answer for his contribution to the atrocities of the PNC regime.”
During the 14th death anniversary observance of the former President of Guyana and founder of the ruling People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Dr. Cheddi Jagan, at his resting site at Babu John, Jagdeo reportedly said that there was a time when Guyanese were persecuted and jailed because of beliefs contrary to the regime.
“Our Egypt is not an Egypt of today. Our Egypt was the Egypt of the 70s and the 80s, when people were killed because of their belief, when they were persecuted and locked up for uttering a single word against the (PNC) government, when they were starved of food and food was used as a political tool, and when just having bread made from wheat (flour) in your home could land you in jail.
“That was the era of (Guyana’s) Egypt; and I tell you this because a lot of the media houses do not recognize that; and because the PNC has just chosen, as their Presidential Candidate, a man who was very active in that era – the era of repression, the era of starving our people; and I say this because they have gone backwards to choose someone who is characterised by repression, someone who has blood on his hands.”
Arguing his “evidence”, the President added that “I say this because the people here in Berbice – the people who were killed protecting ballot boxes, protecting democracy, were killed in full knowledge of people like Granger and the others (in the PNC) who controlled the political direction of the country at that time.”
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