President David Granger has maintained that there was no “widespread abuse” of State resources for political purposes at the behest of his Government for the recently-concluded Local Government Elections (LGE) campaign, and indicated that it is rather petty to consider the usage of State-assigned vehicles to transport government ministers to political meetings as an “abuse”.
Granger said that it is practically impossible for him to not use State resources whilst conducting activities on behalf of his political party – the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Coalition.
“I don’t see how it is possible for me to not use State resources. I couldn’t refuse to go without my security, I couldn’t refuse to go without official transport,” he explained as he responded to numerous concerns mounted by sections of society regarding the Administration’s usage of taxpayers’ money for campaigning purposes.
This is despite the fact that the APNU/AFC had complained in the past of the usage of State-assigned vehicles to take government ministers to political rallies.
“There is a difficulty in expecting the ministers to leave their security behind, to leave their official vehicles behind and just go walking about without protection. So I think that the use of official support has been minimal and I have not seen any evidence of abuse of State resources,” he stated.
The APNU and AFC whilst in Opposition had raised concerns about the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) access to public financing for its political campaigns. The PPP/C had denied the allegations.
Now in Opposition, the PPP/C is accusing the APNU/AFC government of same.
In the run-up to the Local Government Elections, the PPP General Secretary Clement Rohee had expressed concerns about the government’s alleged blatant utilisation of State funds for electioneering purposes.
Of recent, the Party expressed its intention of raising the matter in the National Assembly. In a statement, the PPP/C demanded a full-scale investigation into the allegations.
The Party also called on the international community to take note of this “troublesome development”.