2020 is just around the corner
I write in response to the Kaieteur News editorial of September 14, “A Broken Party.” The editorial of a newspaper is meant to reflect the opinion of that medium on the issue, I do not believe this article was written by the Editor-in-Chief, Adam Harris, nor does it reflect the views of its publisher, Glenn Lall. Neither is so naive as to believe that the People’s Progressive Party is “a broken party.”
This editorial reflects such bias views and arrogant contempt for the PPP, that it is most likely written by someone with the mindset of a Freddie Kissoon, although Freddie is not that naive either.
The editorial begins, “History has shown that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has descended into an abyss of a mere vote-getting machine based on race politics bent on dividing the country.” Surly, this “editor” is ignorant of the political history of the country, and should have done some research before putting his pen into gear. With all the irregularities that took part during the 2015 General Election, the PPP/C secured 202,694 votes to the APNU+AFC 207,200 votes, a difference of 4,506 votes. In 2011, the APNU and the AFC contested separately, but secured a total of 175,011 votes, compared to 166,340 for the PPP/C (source: GECOM).
Then at the Local Government Elections in March 2016, the PPP/C won 24,894 MORE VOTES than the governing APNU+AFC, securing 48 NDCs in the seventy (70) Local Authority Areas contested. These results clearly demonstrate that the PPP is still the largest political party in the country. This, dear editor, is our history as documented by GECOM, and no rational person would describe this as a “broken party”.
But it gets even more absurd. This Kaieteur News “editor” propagates, “The PPP is distinctive from other political parties in Guyana because it is corrupt and crooked. It does not have a vision and the challenge its members face today is new leadership. The party is at a critical crossroad, it is a broken party, and its members are asking serious questions about its future, its leadership and what role it can exercise in the future governance of the country.” Well now, this diatribe is beginning to sound more like an Abel Seetaram on pethidine.
So before I respond to the nonsense spewed in this so-called “editorial”, let me once again for transparency and self-disclosure, admit that I was once a fierce critic of former President Bharrat Jagdeo and his PPP Administration. While living in New York, my hunger for news out of Guyana caused me to be negatively influenced by the onslaught of news critical to the PPP government, propagated by the local online press and Mark Benschop on his hate radio. Without facts or evidence, I too joined the misinformation campaign, and maliciously accused the Jagdeo Administration of corruption in much the same way as this administration is doing now. But then, after returning regularly on vacations, I was able to see firsthand, the metamorphosis that had taken place from the hopelessness I had left behind when I migrated during the reign of the PNC. For despite the allegations of corruption prosperity was evident everywhere. Guyanese owned more cars and beautiful homes that ever before. There were new schools and hospitals and a network of beautifully paved roads. Guyanese had jobs and money in their pockets. Blackouts were rapidly diminishing. The crime rate was still too high and there were pockets of problems of course, but in general, people were mostly happy.
The political landscape in Guyana is a vicious one, and it is very easy to peddle lies and misinformation and slander ones character for political gains.
The APNU+AFC has a strategy to retain power in 2020. It is ruthless, and relies on the unscrupulous tactics the PNC had been using effectively for years against the PPP. Tactics that have resonated well with their political base. The APNU+AFC re-election campaign strategy is now known. The strategy has been leaked by the Basil Williams emails and focused of three main areas:
They will, “Keep propagandizing on the issue of having inherited an empty treasury” from the PPP in 2015.
They will “continue to restate that the economy was surviving on drug money.” And
They will “continue to prod favorable media houses and social media operatives so that they further fuel the perception that the PPP is racist.”
It is now obvious from the content of this editorial that someone is using Kaieteur News to help the governing APNU+AFC achieve this objective.
With all the scandals; lack of performance and broken promises, the APNU+AFC is getting more desperate now. They can no longer play the “anti-corruption” card because they are now corrupt. They can no longer play the “economic development” card because the economy is struggling and there are no investors lining up to come to Guyana. Neither can they play the “increase social welfare” card because with the lack of jobs, increased taxes and 14% VAT on water and electricity, more poverty and criminals are being created. All the good campaign rhetoric have been destroyed in their first two years in government. So now, as people start drifting from them, they pull out the only option left available, the race card. And they will use whatever means necessary, with the aid of “favorable media houses”, Commission of Inquires, Eric Phillips and others to get that message out, even though they have no credibility on improving race relations. After all, this is the same government who fired every Permanent Secretary (PS) of Indian descent after taking office, and only sent home one PS that was Afro-Guyanese. And this had nothing to do with the politics, qualifications or competence of those fired, for they were all highly trained and competent civil servants. But rather, their race and ethnicity!
While there is no doubt that the bulk of the PPP supporters comes from Indo-Guyanese. I have heard the Party General Secretary mentioned repeatedly at the PPP Congress and at meetings through Guyana, that the PPP is a multi-racial Party and have welcomed Afro-Guyanese to be part of this culture.
As I have said before, the Granger Administration’s greatest fear is having to compete against a highly motivated PPP/C in 2020 with Bharrat Jagdeo as its Presidential Candidate. So, for this editorial to suggest that the PPP “is no longer a vibrant political party and has no centralized message”, tells me that the writer has not been reading the news, the letter columns, nor attending the weekly press conferences at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition. For this “editor” is either deliberately propagating misinformation, or maliciously trying to plant the seed of doubt in the minds of our supporters by insinuating that there is confusion and rivalry within the Party structure. He wrote, “Although they will not speak publicly about it, many of its supporters have never really trusted their present leader or have truly respected his intellect, but would not speak publicly about it. They wanted an infusion of transformative and visionary leadership but this will not happen with its current leader at the helm.”
I am stunned that this piece of garbage was allowed to be published and defame the column that is associated with my friend, Editor-in-Chief, Adam Harris. This is not his style, he did not write this. But I will say this emphatically:
There is no division within the rank and file of the People’s Progressive Party. Those rice farmers who were fooled by the $9,000 a bag for paddy, and the sugar workers conned into believing they would get a 25% increase, have already returned home. The members of the People’s Progressive Party stand firmly and united behind our Leader and General Secretary, the right Honorable Dr Bharrat Jagdeo. There is no other politician in Guyana today that is more loved, admired, respected and knowledgeable like Jagdeo, and there is no other that is more feared too, just ask the Leaders of the governing APNU and AFC.
Unlike the Granger Administration that governs by trial and error, the PPP has an abundance of visionary leaders with the proven track record to run this government from day one. Those that were once anxious to see the backs of the PPP are anxiously awaiting their return to government. The good news is, 2020 is just around the corner.
HARRY GILL PPP/C Member of Parliament