‒ Jagdeo tells mass pub­lic meet­ing in Leonora

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Gen­eral Sec­re­tary, Bhar­rat Jagdeo, said most Guyanese are not please with t he per­for­mance of the gov­ern­ment as the “good life” promised by the APNU/AFC coali­tion is nowhere to be­ing re­al­ized.

Speak­ing at a large pub­lic meet­ing at the de­pressed com­mu­nity of Leonora, WCD, called on sup­port­ers to be vig­i­lant and make sure that they are on the vot­ers list for the next gen­eral elec­tions.

“We are go­ing to take this coun­try back,” he said and re­minded the crowd that the lst elec­tions was not fair and that the coali­tion won by just 4,500 votes.

One year later, he said the PPP swept the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Elec­tions, gett i ng some 28,000 votes more than the coali­tion.

“If we go to the polls now, there would be 50,000 dif­fer­ence (in votes),” he de­clared.

He fur­ther stated that while the PPP at­tracts more sup­port from Indo- Guyanese, the party is multi-racial and multi-cul­tural and get sup­port from all sec­tions of the pop­u­la­tion.

The for­mer Pres­i­dent, speak­ing to the large num­ber of su­gar work­ers in at­ten­dance, nmany of whom are now jobless due to the re­cent clo­sure of Wales es­tate, said the de­ci­sion to close the su­gar in­dus­try is “po­lit­i­cal” and is in­tended t o force Indo- Guyanese to mi­grate and shrink the party’s base.

He told the gath­er­ing that the PPP has a plan to make the su­gar in­dus­try vi­able and save thou­sands of jobs. How­ever, the gov­ern­ment is not will­ing to lis­ten to the party be­cause of its hid­den agenda.

He said the gov­ern­ment is los­ing sup­port and pointed out a num­ber of other ar­eas in which the pop­u­la­tion is made to suf­fer.

He re­ferred to the re­moval of the $1.6 mil­lion grant to school chil­dren im­ple­mented by the PPP/C, the re­moval of sub­si­dies on wa­ter and elec­tric­ity from 44,000 pen­sion­ers and ux­ta­pose this to the huge tax write- offs given to some com­pa­nies. He al­luded to gov­ern­ment’s waste­ful spend­ing in sev­eral ar­eas.

He said the gov­ern­ment could find the money to sub­si­dize the in­dus­try un­til it can steady it­self. He re­minded that the in­dus­try kept Guyana alive for decades and made a size­able con­tri­bu­tion t o Guyana through the su­gar levy.

He said su­gar be­gan to de­cline when the Euro­pean Union cut prices by 36 per­cent and $8B a year was lost in rev­enue.

He said all of the su­gar es­tates could have been kept open with work­ers get­ting their full An­nual Pro­duc­tion In­cen­tive and four to five per­cent salary in­creases per year and also save 10,000 jobs. Fur­ther, he said, the su­gar work­ers pay more than $10B in taxes so it would have made sense to keep the 10,000 jobs. By re­mov­ing them, he em­pha­sized, “Gov­ern­ment would l ose all of t hose ben­e­fits. But they are not think­ing that way be­cause the de­ci­sion is po­lit­i­cal.”

He also spoke of the lack of cit­i­zens’ se­cu­rity and re­ferred to the re­cent jail­breaks and de­struc­tion of the Camp Street prison. The Op­po­si­tion Leader took to task Min­is­ter of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity, Khem­raj Ram­jat­tan for hav­ing the worst record, with the burn­ing to death of 17 pris­on­ers last year and the de­struc­tion of the en­tire Camp Street prison a few weeks ago.

Ac­cord­ing to him, the PPP kept the prison safe for 23 years and that even though five pris­on­ers had es­caped in 2005, they lasted long with­out be­ing re­cap­tured be­cause the pris­on­ers were seen as free­dom fight­ers and the army and po­lice were un­able to go into Bux­ton on the East Coast of De­mer­ara.

He said since the jail­break, his party said it was tak­ing the side of law and or­der and sup­ported the se­cu­rity forces in re­cap­tur­ing the pris­on­ers be­cause they want peo­ple to stay safe in their homes.

Also mak­ing re­marks at the meet­ing and speak­ing about the suf­fer­ing of the su­gar work­ers, were Gen­eral Sec­re­tary of the Guyana Agri­cul­tural & Gen­eral Work­ers’ Union [GAWU], Seep­aul Narine, PPP MP Ir­faan Ali and for­mer Wales es­tate worker and GAWU rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Gor­don Thomas.

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