PPP must respond to need of the nation, decentralize and build up local leaders
Amidst a gathering of hundreds of party delegates and observers, including a hinterland contingent of over 500, the clarion call at the opening of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Congress for all members to rally together to make the party stronger, with a view of retaking the reins of government – for the good of all Guyanese.
Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, as one of the feature speakers today at the Cotton Field Secondary School where the event is being held, had a message for “all of Guyana” – which was that the PPP has demonstrated a track record of progress and will do so again.
“I am a proud member of the PPP,” he declared, referring to the “struggles and successes” of the PPP. Dr Jagdeo, also an Executive Member of the Party, stated that there is much to be proud of, from the pre-independence struggle to the 1992 elections win that ended 28 years of rigged elections and other atrocities.
“Now we are leading the struggle to retake Government,” he said, stressing that the Coalition (APNU/AFC Government) has proven that it is “incapable” of running a country. He noted that the Coalition Government is not only bereft of ideas on how to manage and grow the local economy, but has demonstrated it proclivity for greed, mediocrity and arrogance, in addition to being “hopelessly” incompetent. “This Government has made deception an art form,” Jagdeo posited.
According to him, by 2020 – or sooner – the PPP hopes to implement the plan that it has for the country, plans aimed at enhancing progress and development that benefits all of Guyana.
“We will be bigger, better and stronger (by 2020),” Jagdeo declared.
CURRENT STATE OF AFFAIRS
Commenting on the current state of affairs, Jagdeo was ‘no holds barred’ as he stressed that the ‘rhetoric’ mouthed by members of the current Coalition Government has failed to materialise into policy. “We are in for a rough ride,” he warned.
However, he assured that the PPP will not neglect it support base, but will continue to reach out to all its supporters.
Jagdeo quipped that while the PPP supporters missed the Party being in Government from day one, even the supporters of the Coalition are missing the PPP now.
On that note, he made clear that the PPP is a Party for all of Guyana and will take its message across the country.
Addressing the matter of internal meetings over the next few days, Jagdeo noted that the PPP’s 31st Congress is its first, out of office, in decades, and offers a chance for an “honest and open” discussion on why the Party lost office. He made clear that in addition to irregularities during the May 2015 elections, there were also other contributing factors – factors that the Party has a chance to fully and frankly address. “We need an honest assessment (on where we are)…we need to fix those problems,” he said.
Moving forward, he noted that the PPP cannot be “trapped by philosophy” or by notions of the past; rather the Party must be guided by what is good for all Guyanese and Guyana and by the founding principles of the PPP.
“I look forward to hearing from all of you,” he said, adding that the fire that drives the PPP members has not been extinguished.
Jagdeo recalled the PPP founder and former president, Dr Cheddi Jagan, as a man with one of the most “nimble minds” he has encountered. He added that Jagan’s approach was to respond to change and the needs of the nation.
Addressing the matter of long standing members, he noted there is a need for these comrades to encourage youths and women and send a message that the PPP is open to all Guyanese.
The PPP, he said, also has to decentralise and build up local leaders so that the PPP is in “tip top” shape to respond to the challenges of the day.
“We will work hard for the next few years to take back this country,” Jagdeo declared, adding that he PPP has always been inclusive and will continue to engage anyone, regardless of ethnicity, religion or any other factor.
He added, “Those who voted for us and those who didn’t want to know what the Party stands for. According to him, the PPP is a unifying force.
“Our Congress looks like the face of Guyana,” the Opposition Leader said, noting that the PPP has remained true to the its founding principle of inclusivity.
Among those in attendance were representatives of the diplomatic corps, the private sector and local trade union movements, as well as other invitees. The Civic members of the PPP, including former Prime Minister, Sam Hinds, Peoples’ Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Parliamentarian, Juan Edghill, among others.
The 31st PPP Congress is being held under the theme: ‘Strengthen the Party, Defend Democracy, Onward to Victory’. The three-day gathering ends on Monday. (Vanessa Narine)