OPINION: (Written by Mark Archer)
We can now add demagogue to the other labels that aptly describe the Peoples Progressive Party’s (PPP) presidential candidate, and the Party’s General Secretary. The dictionary definition of a demagogue is -a political leader who seeks support by appealing to the desires and prejudices of ordinary people rather than by using rational argument. In the current election season, the PPP has made outlandish promises to its core supporters and the general electorate that it knows it cannot and will not keep. The recent announcement from Church Street that the PPP will launch an investigation into the deaths of hundreds of Afro-Guyanese who were murdered during the ‘troubles’, was so demagogic that to many it sounded like the Nazi’s promising to investigating the Jewish holocaust or as one writer aptly opined, Osama Bin Laden investigating 9-11.
It is apposite to note that the gentleman who made this announcement, was the serving President of Guyana when these atrocities occurred. Historical records show that the period of the Jagdeo Presidency was the most violent period in the history of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. It is a fact that 1,431 Guyanese were murdered during the period 2000- 2009. There were massacres at Leguan, Bartica and Lindo Creek in 2008. David Granger in his book- Public Security – Criminal violence and policing in Guyana – notes that; “The period of the ‘troubles’ on the East Coast is regarded as the bloodiest phase in Guyana’s post – Independence history during which dozens of men were shot to death or even disappeared”. Today almost a decade later, Mr. Jagdeo and his dishonest and hypocritical coterie of demagogues are promising to investigate these heinous crimes that occurred under their watch – if the Guyanese people vote for them in 2020.
During a recent interview, the dishonest Irfaan Ali dismissed criticisms that his plans to reopen shuttered sugar estates are unrealistic, while maintaining that he has a sound plan to resuscitate the industry. Ali is also promising to create 50,000 new jobs; get rid of the Value Added tax and return free tertiary education; but the biggest ‘whopper’ was Irfaan Ali’s claim that the PPP had always kept the promises made in their election manifestos.
In the first instance, the PPP was given $ 348 Billion by the European Union-EU to protect sugar workers jobs and strengthen GUYSUCO. The PPP chose to squander that money on vanity projects other than investing in sugar workers and preparing the industry for the end of the EU sugar subsidy. In the end, the PPP resorted to closing the Diamond and LBI estates. Now Irfaan Ali and the PPP, the same people who destroyed the sugar industry in Guyana are promising to miraculously reopen the closed estates – yuh hear lie!
In 2007, the PPP introduced a sixteen percent Value Added Tax- VAT-. The dishonest PPP now wants Guyanese to believe that if elected to office, they will get rid of VAT. The PPP introduced hefty tuition fees for University students; now the PPP wants you to believe that if elected to office, they will remove University fees after five years.
The PPP has an unenviable track record of failing to deliver on election promises made. The PPP in their 2011 Manifesto told Guyanese that they would hold local government elections – the PPP never held local government elections. The PPP promised to create 25,000 ‘high quality’ jobs in the ICT sector- the PPP never delivered, instead Guyana lost billions of dollars in a failed fibre-optic scam. In their Manifesto the PPP promised the people of Linden 1000 new jobs in the bauxite sector and 800 new jobs in the forestry sector- this never happened. The PPP promised to open call-centres in Enmore, Tuschen, Corentyne and on the Essequibo Coast- they boasted that this would create 5000 new jobs! – never happened. Other manifesto promises like the deep-water harbour at the mouth of the Berbice River, the chip factory in Wakenaam and the cereal plant at Anna Regina were all empty promises.
Recently, the General Secretary of the, PPP told reporters that should his party win at the March 2, 2020 elections, the PPP would make non-disclosure of contracts a criminal offense.
This is highly hypocritical but not out of character- coming from the PPP, considering that they are still unanswered questions relating to President Donald Romatar’s alleged ‘big oil block’ giveaway to persons rumoured to be linked to the PPP. The same hypocritical PPP that is now promising to make non-disclosure of contracts a criminal offense, never disclosed any of the major contracts they signed while they were in office. It was not until the APNU+AFC came to office that President David Granger released the contents of the Exxon contract.
The PPP had their time and their track record proves that they are dishonest, unscrupulous and too incompetent to govern in the interest of all of the people of Guyana. Since President Granger’s election to office, Guyana has begun moving in the right direction. Together lets keep moving forward- vote APNU+AFC at the next elections to secure a better future for all Guyanese.