PNCR Executive, Aubrey Norton

…PNCR challenges PPP to embrace ‘scandal-tarred record’
…lists 12 scams that dogged the former regime

AS the elections campaign heats up, the Peoples National Congress Reform (PNCR), on Friday, challenged its main political rival – the PPP – to embrace its 23-year record in government – which that party said was dogged by some 12 scandals and mismanagement of the country.

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The PPP had been making allegations against the government on corruption, but on Friday PNCR executive member, Aubrey Norton, reminded that the PPP’s 23 years in office was punctuated by scandal after scandal. Those being: The stone scam; The milk scam; The gold scam; The law books scam; The re-migrant duty-free-vehicle scam; The Cane Grove Conservancy Dam scam; The IAST scam; The wildlife scam; The export of dolphins scam; The Polar Beer scam; The GuySuCo scam and the fibre-optic cable scam, among many others.

Norton, a former Member of Parliament, told a news conference held at Congress Place that the PPP led by its Presidential Candidate, Irfaan Ali is “ashamed of their abysmal performance during their 23 years in government. It is now clear that the PPP is trying to run away from its 23 years of misrule, corruption and division. The PPP record is so sordid, that they can boast about nothing; so, they have resorted to lies and empty promises in an attempt to get the electorate to forget their 23 years of chaos, confusion and corruption,” Norton told the media.

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He said the PNCR will not allow the PPP to run away from their record. It is theirs and they must run on that record. According to Norton, apart from the daily lies, the PPP continues to make outlandish promises to its core supporters and the general electorate that it knows it cannot and will not keep. “Anyone listening to the pronouncements being made by the PPP would think that this was a brand-new political party and not the old worn-out PPP that misruled Guyana for 23 years; before being voted out of office in 2015, just four short years ago,” Norton stated.

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He said Irfaan Ali and his cronies are attempting to reinvent themselves, “but we all know that this is the same old PPP (like the old saying goes – you can put lipstick on a pig – but it will still be a pig). It is a fact that while in government, the PPP and their cronies considered themselves to be above the law. The former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, is before the courts in the law-books scandal. Irfaan Ali, the Presidential Candidate is before the court facing 19 charges.

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It is a fact that the State Asset Recovery Agency (SARA) is currently investigating how oil blocks were given to companies that do not have any experience in petroleum exploration. These blocks were awarded by President Donald Ramotar just days before the May 2015 General and Regional Elections. Intelligence suggests that these blocks are held by known PPP associates through off-shore shell companies,” Norton charged.

THE REAL PPP
He said this is the real PPP, “and we must never allow this type of lawlessness to return to government. This is their real record and they must defend it. It is a fact that during the PPP’s 23 years in government, the World Bank’s worldwide governance indicators reflected that government corruption was a serious problem. It is a fact that while in office, assets acquired by senior PPP Government officials and corrupt business people bore no relationship to their incomes and earnings.

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One only has to look at the mansion that Irfaan Ali built after just three years as a government Minister,” Norton said. He said it is a fact that the PPP has an unenviable track-record of lies and broken promises. “During a recent interview, the dishonest Irfaan Ali promised to reopen closed sugar estates; create 50,000 new jobs; get rid of the Value Added Tax (VAT) and return free tertiary education; but the biggest lie of them all, was Irfaan Ali’s claim that the PPP had always kept the promises made in their election manifestos,” Norton observed.

He said in the first instance, the PPP was given $34.8B 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, LBI and Wales 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…” Norton stated.

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He told the media that in 2007, the PPP introduced a 16 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT), but now wants Guyanese to believe that if elected to office, they will get rid of VAT. “The PPP introduced hefty tuition fees for University of Guyana students; now the PPP wants you to believe that if elected to office, they will remove university fees after five years…”

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LOCAL GOV’T ELECTIONS
According to Norton the PPP has an unenviable track record of failing to deliver on election promises made, noting that the party in their 2011 Manifesto told Guyanese that they would hold local government elections. “The PPP never held local government elections.

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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 which 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,” Norton reminded.

He said 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.” He said since President David Granger’s election to office, Guyana has begun moving in the right direction. “President Granger has always ensured that the coalition government is working for all Guyanese regardless of ethnicity, geography, gender, party affiliation or class. Together let us keep moving forward. At the next elections, the PNCR urges all Guyanese to vote APNU+AFC to ensure a better future for all,” Norton said.

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