General Secretary of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Joseph Harmon yesterday sought to discredit a paid advertisement which appeared in the Stabroek News, with the headline, “David Granger bad for PNC, Bad for Guyana.”
The article featured comments from eight persons, including ex-members of the People’s National Congress, Joseph Hamilton, Henry Jeffrey, James McAllister, Dr. Faith Harding and GECOM Commissioner and Registrar of the University of Guyana Vincent Alexander. It also included remarks by former Deputy Speaker Clarissa Riehl, Vice Chairman of the Alliance For Change Moses Nagamootoo, and political activist Aubrey Norton.
Several calls were made to Opposition Leader, David Granger, yesterday, for his take on the ad, but this proved to be unsuccessful.
Harmon, however, told this newspaper that he is positive that the advertisement is part of a vicious smear campaign. He said that it is clear that the ad came from the “government’s dirty tricks department” and that it is clearly done in recognition of the fact that Granger will emerge as the next president. He opined that the current administration, in light of APNU’s support for the No-Confidence Motion, will do everything to assassinate Granger’s character and weaken the electorate’s faith in his leadership abilities.
“But we see through the tactics. This won’t weaken us. The back of the government is against the ropes and this kind of move was certainly expected from them. I noticed too, that they used old comments from Moses Nagamootoo, and that was deliberate. They notice that A Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance For Change have a very strong relationship, and they want to put a wedge in that relationship. We will continue to expect only the worst from the People’s Progressive Party. But let it be clear that we will not allow this despicable attack on our leader to affect us. We are stronger than that,” Harmon emphasised.
This publication made several attempts to contact the persons whose comments were used, to verify if their permission was sought to use the comments in such a manner, and if they still maintain their position on the opinions expressed, since none were recent.
While some of those attempts were unsuccessful, contact was eventually made with Mr. Alexander. The comment published in the ad by Mr. Alexander was, “It is therefore surprising that Mr. Granger on the occasion of the anniversary of the fledgling alliance, now finds favour with the position that the two offices should be held by one person, and offers himself as that person, although not much has changed to justify his change of heart and view, on the other matter…In fact, the position of leader of the opposition, which is a broad-based, fledgling alliance demands his attention on two fronts: One leading the alliance, which must be naturally challenging and demanding his attention and two, building the alliance, which undoubtedly requires deep thought, much energy and astute leadership.”
Alexander, while stressing that the comment was not a recent one, expressed concern for the manner in which his comment was manipulated and stressed that its content, though a position which he still maintains, does not fit into the intentions of the headline, which seeks to discredit Granger’s ability to lead the nation.
“I was never contacted for my permission for this comment to be used in this advertisement and I am concerned by it. My view at the time was that Granger should not be holding two offices, for both positions are very demanding and for guaranteed growth, the new alliance would need a new leader. I don’t subscribe to the intentions of the ad,” Alexander asserted.
Aubrey Norton also expressed concern with the manner in which his comment on the proceedings of the PNC Congress was misused. He too stated that his permission was not sought for it to be used in what appears to be a government paid advertisement.
In stronger terms, he added, “I am concerned that these comments have been misused. The headline of the ad has no relationship to the comments I made and it looks like the normal People’s Progressive Party trash.”
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