Cheddi Jagan’s 22nd death anniversary
The current Administration, which was given a three-month lease of life following the successful passage of the no-confidence resolution in the National Assembly on December 21, has no vision.
This was reiterated by People’s Progressive Party (PPP) General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo during his address to thousands of PPP supporters at Babu Jaan, Berbice on Sunday as the Party observed the 22nd death anniversary of its founder, Dr Cheddi Jagan.
The annual pilgrimage to the memorial site of the former President is attended by Party supporters who have been attending over the past two decades, as Jagdeo outlines how the Party continues to keep Dr Jagan’s policy alive. On Sunday, he did not disappoint them.
“Dr Jagan waited for 28 years to return freedom to Guyana. We can return it faster, because people are more educated and their children are educated and also they have more means of combination. They can get involved in the fight using social media and now they are not fearful of this government, so we can all play a part in returning our country to what it was,” Jagdeo stated.
Guyana can only progress under the PPP, Jagdeo told the gathering. Even if the coalition Government were to win the soon-to-be-held Regional and General Elections, Jagdeo said Guyana would be thrown into a state of anarchy.
“Assuming a miracle happens and they win the elections, do you think Granger would suddenly be invested with a vision for Guyana – a visionless man? Do you think he will leave State House to walk among people? No! Do you think some of them would be less corrupt? In fact, more corrupt. Do you think another term could solve the incompetence in that geriatric cabal? They can’t offer us anything,” he told his supporters.
Guyana, he added, can only be managed with a programme and a vision and with younger people working with older people. “That is what the PPP is offering,” he said.
Government, he stated, is aware that the PPP will win massively at the next elections.
“They use to say at the last elections that they will throw us in jail, well many of them will be in jail in the future because of actual corruption – not rumours of corruption and that is a big fear of theirs. They have two massive fears. One is when they go around the country, they are not getting support. Look at what happened at the last Local Government Elections: right across Guyana, we won more than 60 per cent of the votes. We got 47,000 more votes than APNU [A Partnership for National Unity] and AFC [Alliance For Change] combined. So they are very fearful, because now when they go to people on the ground, they are asking them, ‘“Where were you over the past four years?”’
The other fear plaguing Government at this time is that of losing the elections.
The Government has nothing to offer, the Party’s General Secretary stated. According to the former Head of State, the PPP has always been on the side of the people.
He noted that the right to vote was fought for and won by the PPP in 1953.
“We stayed strong through those dark days when democracy was snatched from us and when the Government behaved with impunity and when people were jailed for what they eat and what they said. There was no freedom of expression,” Jagdeo noted.
He related that many persons could not eat certain food products without being viewed as a criminal under the Administration that the PPP/Civic took over from in 1992. During that era, many Guyanese fled owing to discrimination and lack of opportunities.
“It was the PPP fighting to return democracy again in that period. We led that long struggle and we were patient, but we knew just as we know that you cannot suppress the will of the people for very long. They will ultimately prevail. So, as we won in 1992, in a few months’ time, we will win again and continue to take this country forward,” Jagdeo said while noting that all of the social and economic gains Guyana has realised over the past two decades were now being eroded in less than four years of APNU/AFC rule.
Meanwhile, the Party’s Presidential Candidate, Irfaan Ali told the crowd that over the past two months he has been on the ground to hear the plight of the people.
“People are losing hope. Whatever party they are from, the story is the same. People are losing hope. Hope is gone because of bad governance and because of poor economic development and programmes in our country,” Ali said.
He asked supporters to commit to ensure that the PPP is returned to government and have hope restored to Guyana.
Ali pointed out that across Guyana there were problems affecting the populace – from the farmers in Regions Five and Six being affected by paddy bugs to the residents in Region Nine not being able to access essential medical supplies.
The current Administration, he added, is placing its focus on the wrong things, he noted.
“They give priority in the budget on increased dietary, lavish lifestyles and overseas travel. They should be focusing on restoring the 37,000 jobs lost over the past three years.”
On that note, Ali reiterated his promise to reopen the sugar estates when the PPP returned to office under his stewardship.
In an address, which was punctuated with relevant quotes from the late Dr Jagan, the Presidential Candidate said the PPP has a track record of being with the people during difficult circumstances.
“Democracy is the foundation. We must all commit to the safeguarding of this democracy,” he quoted Dr Jagan from one of his speeches. Ali also spoke of attempts by the coalition Government not to demit office or to call elections which are constitutionally due in 10 days.
“It is not about politics: it is about safeguarding democracy ad safeguarding Dr Jagan’s legacy,” he said. “I will be with you on that struggle and we will overcome,” he promised.
Prior to the addresses, wreaths were laid at Dr Jagan’s monument. Also addressing the rally were former Prime Minister Samuel Hinds and Women’s Progressive Organisation General Secretary Sheila Veerasammy.