Apr 27, 2015 News
In a desperate attempt to win the hearts of the military which will be voting next week, former President Bharrat Jagdeo and Presidential Candidate of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) spoke highly about the members of the force yesterday and implored them to support the party which truly has their interest at heart.
This is certainly a change in the party’s tune, considering Jagdeo’s remarks at the PPP/C’s rallies in Essequibo and Albion, Berbice. The former President had said that the opposition’s alliance with former military personnel should be feared.
“When they link up with the Military and come into your homes and start kicking the doors down and when they come after you, who is going to be there…?” he had questioned.
Jagdeo had said that APNU has its entire Executive being dominated by ex-army ranks and officers. As such, “There can be no professionalism as was done in the past.”
Those statements were immediately condemned by the top brass of the military, who insisted that its professionalism cannot be compromised and that they are always guided by the Constitution.
But yesterday in the face of public condemnation for his remarks, Jagdeo back-pedaled from his statements. In fact, he praised the military at the PPP/C’s rally held in Stewartville, West Coast Demerara. He referred to them as being extremely “professional” and of “great integrity”. The former President told the party’s supporters that he really is at the rally to speak to two groups who were not there.
“One of the groups I want to speak to is the soldiers, who will be voting next week…you sit down and realize who was always supporting you. In 1991, your budget was $675, 000. But in 1992 it was $6M…The salary of the lowest paid soldier is bigger than their budget allocation in 91,” Jagdeo expressed.
He said that A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) professes to have an unconditional love for the soldiers but stressed that this was just another lie.
He added, “The only legacy APNU’s David Granger has in the army was forcing them to compromise their integrity by stealing ballot boxes and stealing 400 weapons that criminals now have and getting the army involved in Walter Rodney’s death. To the soldiers and the police, don’t listen to the APNU rhetoric…beware of the opposition’s mind games.”
He then implored the military once more that before they cast their mark hastily, to seriously think about the party that has increased their budgetary allocations and the other party that has a history of passing on instructions to them to engage in activities which are illegal.
President Ramotar also spoke in the same vein and appealed to the soldiers to stay on the road to progress with the PPP/C. He sought to give a commitment to the officers that he would never pass on an instruction to the officers for them to do anything criminal.
The President accused the opposition of being copycats as he claimed that they are now stealing the PPP/C’s plans such as the Amaila Falls Hydro Project and the mechanization of the sugar industry.
The Stewartville rally also saw remarks from young PPP/C candidates such as former President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Clinton Urling.
Urling who sought to appeal mostly to the youth of the large gathering said that the PPP/C does not make idle statements about ensuring that young people play an active role in the body politics.
The businessman boasted that nearly 50 percent of the candidates of his party are under 45 and the PPP/C has demonstrated unrelenting faith in the youth as this can be seen through the ministerial appointments of Dr. Ashni Singh, Priya Manickchand, Irfaan Ali and even Bharrat Jagdeo when he served as the Minister of Finance.
The entrepreneur also shot down the APNU+AFC manifesto, referring to it as a crude “cut and paste” plan.
Housing Minister, Irfaan Ali who chaired the programme, sought to remind his attentive audience that the PPP/C will never give up on the sugar industry and to talk more on this point, he invited the next speaker to the podium, President of the Guyana Agriculture and General Workers Union, Komal Chand.
But Chand spoke nothing of the PPP/C’s plans for rescuing the ailing sugar industry. Instead, he focused on bashing the political opposition for “betraying the Guyanese people.”
The comments by the energized Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon were what got the crowd really excited.
Dr. Luncheon charmed the Region Three supporters as he told them that they have always had a special place with the PPP/C. He spent much time wooing them as he spoke of how important they are and thanked them for their loyalty throughout the years.
His colleague, PPP/C General Secretary, Clement Rohee then took to the stage and told the already riled up crowd that “today”, they have to get on the ground and work hard to ensure that they tell every person they know to get out and vote on May 11. He stressed that it will be a battle of good over evil and each must fight with their ballot in their hand.
“Too much is at stake my people. We must vote to keep the PPP/C in office. We want to warn them (the opposition) that we will upset any attempt to upturn the democratic process,” he added.
He too, took a jab at the “APNU’s manifesto” as he said that it is nothing but a plan about a plan.
Jagdeo who supported Rohee’s statements, later appealed to another group—the International Observers. He said that they need to be vigilant because the opposition has a history of trying to “invade polling stations around 4:00 pm to create confusion. The Observers need to pay attention to that because they (the opposition) will spare no means to win.”
He also called on the Guyana Elections Commission to publish in the newspapers, the penalties for tampering with the polls.
The former President said too that should the opposition get its hand on the money in Central Bank with over $700M in international reserves, “they would eat it up overnight.” He stressed that the APNU+AFC cannot be trusted.
The PPP/C Prime Ministerial Candidate, Elisabeth Harper, also spoke lightly on the party’s manifesto and its intentions to solve crime and address a number of matters to promote the country’s development.
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