[www.inewsguyana.com] – The two leading political parties, A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) and the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) have made appeals to supporters for calm in the run up to the May 11 polls.
Taking the stage at separate mass rallies at the weekend, APNU+AFC Prime Ministerial Candidate, Moses Nagamootoo and his PPP/C contestant, Elisabeth Harper beseeched those in their respective camps to resist provocation and be agents of peace.
The Prime Ministerial candidates’ calls for peace comes at a time when the Parties have almost daily exchanges, the latest being allegations of each camp “buying votes.” With reports lodged to the police, both Parties have been vocal about acts of intimidation and abuse.
According to the ruling Party, a public meeting in Warlock, East Ruimveldt, Georgetown was disrupted last Wednesday evening after a crowd of supporters, allegedly that of the coalition, threw rocks and bottles at the speakers, including Cabinet Secretary, Dr Roger Luncheon. At the weekend, the PPP/C placed a full page advertisement in the local newspapers seeking to further publicise the incident.
There have also been accusations hurled at the PPP/C for acts of intimidation and abuse in Anna Regina, Region Two. Of note, the hanging of effigies of APNU+AFC Prime Ministerial Candidate, Moses Granger and Presidential Candidate, David Granger also caused a stir.
As these ‘exchanges’ continue, the call for peace first came from the Opposition camp. Addressing thousands in New Amsterdam, Berbice, APNU+AFC’s Nagamootoo urged them to remain calm and respectful.
He asked that they resist all acts of provocation, while highlighting that the Party’s focus is more than winning, but rather to unite the people of Guyana. He also emphasised the need for peace and stability.
“We don’t want anyone to pee in the cup. No matter how angry you are, you are supposed to respect the symbol of other Parties as we expect them to respect our symbols. We must respect their flags and posters, we are not going to touch them because they can have more flags than us, more posters than us, but they will not have more votes than us,” a confident Nagamootoo told thousands.
“My message to you is that of a peacemaker…When they try to provoke you, turn away from their provocation,” he beseeched as he reminded that there are international observers in Guyana.
The ballot, he explained, was the ultimate form of expression. Also the coalition which has made clear that their focus is on national unity pledged to have a ‘Day of National Embrace’ should it be victorious.
“We go down these last few days the road of peace and unity and after this election I can promise you that my new president David Granger will gladly agree to name a day, a symbolic day which we will call the ‘Day of National Embrace’ when we can hold the hands of all our brothers and sisters to unite across race and political division,” he said.
Meanwhile, on Sunday as the PPP/C made their way to the ancient country, their Prime Ministerial candidate Harper sounded a similar call.
Highlighting that elections was mere days away, Harper told thousands “I encourage us all not to be drawn in any confrontation or be tempted to respond to any taunts in a way that would go against the principles of our Party and the code of conduct which we have signed.
“Let us show everyone that we as a Party can conduct ourselves with dignity and self-respect. Let us make history the right way as a country that can be respected in the eyes of the international community; a country which fully respects and upholds its democracy with a record that can stand up to the highest standards of international monitoring of holding a peaceful elections in an environment that is free and fair of intimidation,” Harper charged.
Last Thursday, the six political parties contesting the May 11 polls signed the General and Regional Elections Code of Conduct, prepared by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) with a promise to maintain decorum and promote peace.