Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Saturday told the Guyanese diaspora in Queens, New York (NY), that he never thought he would see hunger returning to Guyana and committed that the People’s Progressive Party will work assiduously to ensure that it returns to office at the March 2020 polls to resume economic growth of the country.
“People in the sugar belt, who in the past had a job, now can’t even feed their family. I never thought that we will see the day when hunger returns to Guyana, where people can’t feed their families. They don’t have enough monies to buy food for their families and they’re taking their kids out of school. This is happening in many parts of the country but particularly in the sugar belt of Guyana because people don’t have a social safety net,” Jagdeo told the gathering at a luncheon organised by the Association of Concerned Guyanese (USA Chapter).
He noted that the “unconscionable” APNU/AFC Government, without needing to, went ahead to shut down several estates and sent home more than seven thousand sugar workers, leaving the industry that once carried Guyana’s economy with only three estates.
According to the Opposition Leader, the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), while it may not be financially feasible, has economic feasibility and so, instead of undertaking a transitional arrangement to keep the industry viable, the coalition “vindictively” chose to close those estates, leaving many in despair.
Jagdeo posited that the struggle in Guyana is intensifying because of the continued mismanagement by the Government in many of the sectors.
“We’re just about under 80 days away from elections and we have [to] win these elections. They are crucial for the sake of our people… So many people in our country now are dependent on the People’s Progressive Party to take back the country and resume the growth path we had start on, and to resume the development that they experienced [under PPP],” he stated.
On this note, the Opposition Leader disclosed that he has been working on building a core of young professionals within the PPP to not only run the country for the next five years but for many decades to come. He underscored the importance of having diversity and inclusivity in the party’s leadership so that all of Guyana is represented.
In fact, Jagdeo, who is also the General Secretary of the PPP, pointed out that the party’s philosophy has always been to fight for all of Guyana. It is for this reason, he contended, that the PPP had longevity in the office, governing for more than 20 years.
Jagdeo outlined that while PPP has traditionally been considered an Indo-based party with strong Amerindian support, the party has been working very hard to expand its membership to include Afro-Guyanese as well.
“Cheddi Jagan set up the PPP to fight for the independence of Guyana and for the upliftment of all Guyanese, not just Indo-Guyanese but all Guyanese and that’s the essential nature of the party… We’ve consistently open up to people of every race, every religion and class because that’s what we are. We’re not like the others, race-based or religion-based party, we’re a national party and that is why the PPP is so viable and will always remain viable and will always look out for all of Guyana,” he stressed.
The Opposition Leader went on to point out that when the PPP moved from two seats in Georgetown at the last Local Government Elections (LGE) in November 2018 to seven seats, it came as a shock to everyone including the PNC-led coalition because this has traditionally been their stronghold.
“We’ve been working hard outside our strongholds,” he stated.
Further, Jagdeo added that they will continue to work to attract more unconventional support and are even sharing excerpts of the party’s manifesto in those areas so that people can learn about the PPP’s vision and what they’re working on for the future of Guyana.