May 01, 2015 News
Presidential Candidates of the two major political parties have made last ditch appeals for the votes of
members of the Disciplined Services who will cast their ballots tomorrow, nine days before the rest of the nation goes to the poll to elect a government.
While the incumbent President Donald Ramotar chose a full-page paid advertisement to urge members of the armed forces to consider the improvements made in their organizations over the past two decades, A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change’s David Granger in a 15-minute video called on them to reject the administration which has been abusive and has starved them of the proper resources to carry out their duties professionally.
In this election, the military votes are seen as crucial, especially since they will be casting their ballots in an atmosphere clouded in controversy over the role they will play after the nation would have decided which party will govern Guyana for the next five years.
Within recent weeks the military has come into major focus, following remarks made by former President Bharrat Jagdeo and Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon who is also the Secretary to the Defence Board.
Both men had expressed concern about the significant role being played in the APNU+AFC coalition by ex-military officers, with Jagdeo going further by challenging the professionalism of members of the armed forces.
Jagdeo had “insulted” them by telling PPP supporters that if the opposition gets into power, they will link
up with the military and come and kick down their doors. His remarks were soundly condemned by former Chiefs of Staff of the GDF Brigadier General Edward Collins and Rear Admiral Gary Best, who recently came out and endorsed the opposition coalition, a move that definitely angered the current administration under which he served.
In a move that has been viewed as damage control, President Ramotar spoke of his admiration of the personal commitment and dedication that officers and ranks bring to their respective professions, which he said is vital to the sanctity of Guyana’s borders, the maintenance of internal security and the management of the nation’s penal institutions.
Ramotar said that since the advent of the PPP/C into office, the government has sought assiduously to address the concerns of the GDF, the GPF and the GFS. He said that the party which has been governing Guyana since 1992, has unshackled the Disciplined Services from political influence.
“We have recapitalized all three institutions and provided you with a level of resources never before matched. Today the disciplined services are stronger and more resourced than at any other period in our history. There have been substantial administrative and institutional changes within the disciplined services and much emphasis on providing training, both local and overseas to your members,” Ramotar told the security forces.
He said that as Commander in Chief, he is humbled by the support he has received over the past three years from the leadership of the disciplined forces. He acknowledged that there is much scope for improvement and assured the security bodies of his unwavering support going forward.
“Come May 2 as you head to the polls to cast your votes, I ask you to consider the strides that our country has made. I ask you to consider the improvements made in your organizations. I ask you in all humility to once again repose your confidence in the PPP/C by re-electing me Donald Ramotar,” the President appealed.
Granger on the other hand stated that the current government has failed the security forces, since they have refused to implement the recommendations of the 15 reports it has received over the years.
Granger, who was part of the Disciplined Services Commission, said that it is obvious that the government is not willing to implement the recommendations of the Commission which will enhance the standard of the security forces. He said that he will put them into practice within days of being elected.
“We will set up a Commission of Inquiry to review their (security forces) salaries in keeping with studies that were done 15 years ago. They can look forward to positive changes right after elections,” Granger stated.
He believes that the recent events regarding the statements made by Jagdeo and others will impact significantly on the military vote, since he is convinced that policemen and soldiers are aware of Jagdeo’s abuse of officers who have served with distinction.
“Every part of the western world hemisphere we see honour being paid to ex-military officers. Everywhere people are proud of their servicemen but in Guyana they are abused and criticized without justification, without reason, without truthfulness,” Granger stated.
He said that the ranks should make their choices based on their conscience and professionalism.
“They know that I speak the truth. They know that I will give them the best resources. So I am not afraid of how they will vote. I just want them not to be distracted, not to be confused by what Luncheon or Jagdeo is saying,” the APNU+AFC said.
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