The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has clarified that it has only pulled out from contesting one of the nine constituencies in Wakenaam, Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) at the upcoming Local Government Election (LGE) and not the entire Wakenaam Local Authority Area (LAA).
This clarification comes on the heels of several media reports stemming from Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo’s weekly press conference on Thursday, claiming that the Party has withdrawn entirely from contesting the Wakenaam LAA.
However, in a statement on Friday, the Party sought to set the record straight on its participation in the November 12 Local Government polls in Wakenaam.
The Party pointed out that when the issue of discrepancies on one of the party’s list of backers was raised at a press conference on September 24, 2018, Party General Secretary, Jagdeo acknowledged that the issue had attracted his attention and that an investigation was underway.
“He then pointed out that the allegation was related to one constituency in Wakenaam and that the island is in fact a PPP/C stronghold in which it won 15 out of the 18 Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) seats in 2016.
Further, the General Secretary gave an undertaking that should his investigation unearth any acts of wrongdoing, that the Party will withdraw from contesting that constituency,” the statement detailed.
It continued that when the Opposition Leader was questioned again about the issue at his press conference on Thursday, it was against this backdrop that he said, “I saw it… and I believe something went wrong there and we withdrew as promised”.
To this end, the Party outlined that the Wakenaam Local Authority Area has nine constituencies, eight of which were won at the 2016 LGEs by PPP/Civic.
“We also wish to point out that while the Party has withdrawn from contesting Constituency Two, Rush Brook/Maria Johanna, which has 185 listed electors, it will still be contesting the other eight constituencies and Proportional Representation seats on November 12, 2018,” the Party clarified.
Furthermore, the Opposition party went on to highlight that it is the only party contesting all 80 LAAs, with over 3000 candidates and over 20,000 backers. It further added that out of the 596 constituencies across the country, issues of irregularity only arose on one of the party’s lists of backers, in one constituency, as a result of which the party took a principled position and withdrew its candidate in that disputed constituency.
However, it sought to point out that the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) and the United Republican Party of Guyana (URP), on the other hand, have had allegations of fraud and other impropriety levelled against them in 42 of 80 NDCs but has done nothing of this effect.
At Crabwood Creek, Corriverton, Number 63 and Whim Villages in Berbice, a total of 202 persons objected to the fraudulent inclusion of their names on list of backers. Similar claims were made at La Grange, La Jalousie and Canal Polder in West Bank Demerara by dozens of persons.
“We hope that the press will highlight the fact that GECOM has accepted several APNU/AFC and URP lists and dozens of names that were fraudulently procured rather than focus and sensationalise the fact that the PPP/C withdrew one candidate, in one constituency in Wakenaam which attracted allegations of irregularity. We continue to maintain that the PPP/C’s position should be emulated by the APNU/AFC and the URP and we hope that the press will urge them to do so,” the PPP asserted.
Nevertheless, the Party went on to reaffirm it has not withdrawn from contesting Wakenaam or any other LAA.