May 10, 2015 News
By Kiana Wilburg
The wooing is done. The mud-slinging is over. Tomorrow, the voting populace will decide if the incumbent government deserves another term in office or if it is time for a historic change.
Kaieteur News interviewed the main contenders in the political fight for the electorate’s votes.
Reflections of PPP/C Presidential Candidate
From the red and black corner is the Presidential Candidate for the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic
(PPP/C), Donald Ramotar.
For him, the election season brought several surprises and disappointments. But what turned out to be his biggest surprise and disappointment was Cheddi ‘Joey’ Jagan throwing his support wholeheartedly behind the APNU+AFC.
“It is a betrayal of his parents and I believe it shows his mentality. It seems he is just looking for anything to get attention. I worked so closely with his parents, the late Dr. Cheddi Jagan and it was a double-whammy in terms of being a disappointment,” the incumbent President said.
Ramotar added that the reporting by Kaieteur News and Stabroek News also disappointed him. He felt that both media houses showed their political favouritism by carrying articles heavily in support of the opposition.
With regard to Kaieteur News, he said that the refusal by this publication to not carry a particular advertisement of his party is sure evidence of it being another “New Nation” newspaper.
“I remember that Kaieteur carried a picture of a man with his head chopped off. This is the incident that occurred in Agricola and it argued that it was its right to do so when the objections came but because of its political biasness, it refused to carry our ad.”
He said however that the “heated” rhetoric or “foul” actions of the political opposition during the 2015 election campaign season did not surprise him at all.
“They can’t compare with us. Their record is one of destruction. They even copied our manifesto and that shows that they have no ideas and no record that they can be proud of…They have no choice but to refer to slander and lies.”
The numerous cases of corruption by the government were one of the leading issues during the election season for the opposition. Ramotar said that his only regret is perhaps, not dealing with these “unwarranted” criticisms the minute they were made by the opposition and carried by the Kaieteur News and Stabroek News.
The PPP/C Presidential Candidate then referred to a study which was compiled by a Vanderbilt University. This report showed that Guyana ranks as having the second lowest rate of corruption in the Caribbean hemisphere.
Ramotar asserted that he wished he had addressed the misconception of corruption being high in Guyana more aggressively, for his not doing so left the media with an opportunity to peddle the falsehood.
“Kaieteur News and Stabroek News have done a good job of creating an impression that is not true,” he added.
From travelling across the country during his campaign season, the Presidential hopeful was asked to reveal what turned out to be the most important lesson he learnt from his electorate.
“I have learned a lot from the people. I had an opportunity to see issues on the ground directly and I think that I have learnt more and more to appreciate the people’s heavy political consciousness.
“I am happy to have learnt that many have seen through the opposition’s propaganda and lies. I am just happy with the reception I got. The love and warmth was really over whelming,” the Head of State responded.
But Ramotar maintains that it is the PPP/C which has the true plan for Guyana’s continued progress.
In his last minute pitch to his supporters and even the still undecided few, Ramotar sought to make a serious call for them to reflect on how far the government has brought Guyana.
“We have brought Guyana a far way from debt. We have paid back more than US$1B from the treasury just to clear the debts contracted by the opposition…Our country can now be described as a middle income one and I am proud of that.
“Our students are topping the Caribbean and despite the opposition’s attacks our country has continued to grow and I want the electorate to take this into consideration. The road to progress is with the PPP/C.”
Reflections of APNU+AFC Presidential Candidate
Fighting from the green and yellow corner, Granger said that his biggest surprise on the election campaign trail was the astounding support he received.
“I knew that there was a movement taking place but actually seeing the magnitude of that group was surly overwhelming. It was satisfying. My biggest disappointment, however, was the reappearance of former President Bharrat Jagdeo.”
The Opposition Leader said that he found Jagdeo’s presence during that period to be toxic. He said that the “reckless” comments of the former President put a damper on the season which was intended to prove to the electorate that the politicians of the day are serious about bringing real change to their lives.
Looking back, the only thing he wished he had done differently, was visit more remote areas locally. He had the desire but the financial capacity did not provide for it.
“I would have liked to travel to other areas in the country and reach out to more people in the Hinterland. In that region, sometimes it requires that you have an interpreter to speak to residents in their dialect.”
It is more convincing when you do that. I wished I could have reached out more to the Caribbean Diaspora too. But we did not have the resources to do that. I am generally satisfied with the tremendous work we have done thus far,” Granger said.
The Presidential hopeful and certain members of his camp were targets by the PPP/C during the election season. Granger said that it came as no surprise to him. He strongly believes it did more harm to the inciters.
The personal attacks, untruths and wild allegations which characterized the campaign period, he said, surely tarnished the quality of the political culture.
“I do believe the majority of my supporters have not been swayed by the sentiments that have been expressed by the PPP/C, but trust me, we could have done without it. If anything, it exposed the mentality of the people in Government.
“When you reflect on the disrespect for women displayed by the Bheri Ramsaran, Jagdeo and Ramotar’s contempt for the people, there is no doubt that their way of thinking will haunt them tomorrow.”
Brig Granger said that this particular campaign trail proved to be a learning experience for him. He said that it served to renew ties with the ordinary man and win the hearts of thousands.
Granger said that the most important lesson taken from the just concluded campaign season was how important it is to listen to the people.
“It is important for any leader to be open to ideas from his people. You may be in the presidential seat but the man on the street can really help to show you how the policies need to be sharpened to truly affect his life. That is essential for me. It’s not about forcing plans down the people’s throat but working together with them.
“Letting them know that I am here to serve them and that I am not going to run from their questions. I want them to be a part of the developmental process…
“Guyana can be a better place if we develop the people at the grass roots. I am more committed than ever before in ensuring that the ordinary people get jobs the fundamentals to take them to the true road of prosperity for all.”
Before Judgment Day, the APNU+AFC Presidential Candidate, is urging the electorate to examine the record of the PPP/C which is characterized by enriching family and friends through corrupt activities.
“We need to put an end to the abuse of our tax dollars by the PPP/C. We are doomed if they return to office. Think about your future and let’s chart a fresh course together.”
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