Vote for party that looks out for you – Jagdeo tells Joint Services
…reminds of mistreatment under coalition Govt
As members of the Joint Services turn up to cast their votes across the country today, General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo is urging ranks to support the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) as the party that will look out for them.
“We hope that the Joint Services will support a party that looks out for them…Think carefully, you’re voting for yourselves and your families,” Jagdeo stated at his weekly press conference on Thursday.
Among the Party’s plans for the development and enhancement of the security sector are training, adequately equipping each entity and using resources from the oil and gas sector to modernise the Joint Services. He added that there will be no political interference and abuse of law enforcement officers under a PPP/C Administration – which will be led by Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali and Prime Ministerial Candidate (retired) Brigadier Mark Phillips, a former Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force.
Jagdeo took the opportunity to remind the Joint Services of the treatment meted out to them by the incumbent APNU/AFC Administration, with the most recent being the removal of the one-month tax-free bonus.
“They took away the Joint Services bonus with some disingenuous arguments, one that ‘oh, we don’t have money’… Then [Finance Minister Winston] Jordan had the gall to say it was a bribe to the policemen and the soldiers and the firemen and the others – paid by the PPP to suppress Guyanese. Ask any policemen or soldier or firemen if there was any instruction given to them to suppress Guyanese,” he posited.
According to Jagdeo, who had initiated the one-month bonus during his presidential tenure as a recognition of their service, it will be reintroduced if the PPP gets back into office.
“The one-month bonus was a recognition of the unusual, sometimes dangerous work that this group of people have to pursue, it was a recognition of that,” he asserted.
The PPP General Secretary went on to highlight another issue which has impacted the Joint Services, that is, the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) conducted in 2018 into the 2008 Lindo Creek massacre. That probe, he noted, was aimed at implicating ranks of the Joint Services.
“They only held a Commission of Inquiry to absolve ‘Fine Man’ and implicate the Joint Services… So the Joint Services put their necks on the line for people and to get rid of these people who were terrorising the country, and then this Government – all they can do in five years, after they made claims about PPP involvement with phantom squads and everything else – say they don’t have evidence. But then they had evidence to hold a CoI to implicate the Joint Services. The Joint Services should understand now who are their friends. They should remember that,” he contended.
Jagdeo further reminded Police Officers that it was this coalition that halted promotions in 2017 and politicised the system with the appointment of Paul Slowe as the Head of the Police Service Commission (PSC) – the body responsible for promotions of senior ranks in the Guyana Police Force.
The PPP General Secretary added too that the incumbent Administration had initially removed retirement benefits for army members who retired early after serving a number of years. He noted that it was only reintroduced after the intervention by the PPP.
According to Jagdeo, the ranks need to think carefully when casting their votes today.
As customary during any elections, members of the Disciplined Services are required to cast their votes ahead of the polling day so that they are available for posting at the various polling stations and other strategic locations as required by law without disenfranchising them.
Ballot papers and statement of polls for the upcoming General and Regional Elections arrived in Guyana from Canada on February 7, and a total of 10,226 ballots were extracted for members of the disciplined services.
Those qualified to vote today include 6702 ranks from the Guyana Police Force (GPF), 3036 from the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and 488 from the Guyana Prisons Service (GPS).
Of the total ranks from the entire Disciplined Services, there are 47 from Region One (Barima-Waini), 282 from Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), 1482 from Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), 5324 from Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), 976 from Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice), 1328 from Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), 61 from Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), 17 from Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), 29 from Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), and 680 from Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).
A total of 86 polling stations have been identified at various locations in all the regions for today’s D-Day voting.