With more than three years left before the next general elections in Guyana, the Opposition has made known its intention to get the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU)/Alliance For Change (AFC) coalition Government out of office when Guyanese head to the polls in 2020.
While making several points about the perceived weaknesses of the current administration, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo argued that Guyanese from all walks of life are not pleased with the performance of the Government, and these people are not just supporters of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP).
Jagdeo claimed that many people who voted for the new Government are now regretting their decision and have openly expressed how they feel about their performance in several areas. He said the “good life” which was promised is nowhere close to being realised and Guyanese are cognisant of that fact.
The former Head of State who is also General Secretary of the PPP, made these remarks on Sunday while addressing a large crowd of supporters at a public meeting at Leonora, West Coast Demerara.
He said that while the PPP recognises that their support base is mainly people of Indo-Guyanese origin, there is also large support from the first peoples of Guyana – the Amerindians.
However, Jagdeo observed that the party has had trouble in attracting a large support base in Afro-Guyanese communities because it has been often peddled by their opponents that the party is racial.
But the Opposition Leader claimed that it is far from the truth because the PPP is a multi-cultural party whose members come from all races in Guyana, including those from the Afro-Guyanese community.
While claiming that the 2015 election was not fair, Jagdeo said the PPP was defeated only by 4,500 votes. “We are going to take this country back. One year later, at Local Government elections, we swept the polls with 28,000 votes. But they didn’t say anything about that. If we go to the polls now there would be 50,000 difference (more votes),” Jagdeo confidently boasted during the public meeting.
He said Government officials are claiming that the Americans are on their side and have guaranteed them 10 years in office but he knows that is “not true because I have spoken to the people.”
Further, the former President claimed that the Government’s plan for sugar could be an attempt to get people to migrate, but promised supporters that the PPP will get the APNU/AFC coalition out of office.
Jagdeo was critical of the Government for removing the $1.67 billion grant for school children, stating that write-off for tax companies could have been used to keep that subsidy instead.
He also referenced the removal of subsidies for electricity and water from 44,000 pensioners, claiming that the Government is not spending money where it is needed.
The APNU/AFC narrowly won the 2015 general elections, securing 206,817 votes while the PPP accumulated 201,457 votes, a difference of 5,360 votes.
The coalition’s gain created a devastating loss for the PPP which held political power for over 23 years.
The PPP’s grip on political power was strong until the 2011 General and Regional Elections when it lost parliamentary control. A few years before the 2015 election, President Donald Ramotar, ruled Guyana in a minority government.
The APNU/AFC secured 33 seats in the Eleventh Parliament of Guyana, while the PPP received 32 seats.