Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has signaled his intention to have a public debate with President David Granger on race relations in Guyana.
Jagdeo’s statement was made on Thursday following weeks of intense public debate over the hiring process at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) that saw the top-ranked candidate, Vishnu Persaud, an Indo-Guyanese, being pruned down for the post of Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO).
“This is the only way that Guyana will move forward and that we separate those who will live in the past from people who want to move this country forward for all of our people, regardless of our race,” Jagdeo pointed out.
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has claimed that Persaud’s matter was linked to race.
“I am prepared to debate race relations and which party has contributed to worsening race relations in Guyana. I can talk to him (President Granger) about this fallacy and the myth that they keep perpetuating that they have done more for Afro-Guyanese than the PPP,” Jagdeo stated.
He stated that he is prepared to match the record of the People’s National Congress between 1964 and 1992, and then from 2015 to present as against the PPP’s 23 years in office.
According to Jagdeo, the debate can be on several grounds, including employment practices, access to wealth, land and businesses.
“I am sure that you will see a pattern with Afro-Guyanese have fared better in that period under the PPP than ever under the PNC rule. I am prepared to debate that openly,” Jagdeo stated.
Jagdeo has been criticized for injecting race into the preparations for the upcoming Local Government Elections slated to be held by December.
He stated that he will not allow anyone to take away his right to openly discuss the matter of race.
“These are the fossils that keep harming our country. They are not going to take away that right. I am prepared to discuss the matter openly,” Jagdeo noted.
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