Although a date has still not been set for the next election, Opposition Leader and General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Bharrat Jagdeo has said that his party has commenced preparation and will work hard to return to Government.
Addressing thousands of supporters who gathered in Leonora, West Coast Demerara for an impromptu public meeting following the announcement of Irfaan Ali as the presidential candidate for the Party, Jagdeo reminded that every member has an important role to play to help the PPP/C to an election victory.
And while he made it clear that it was not the launch of the Party’s campaign, Jagdeo said, “We are in full preparation mode. We have one chance and we have to use that chance well in the future. We expect the Party to go into that mode. You will see that being rolled out in the next few weeks.”
Jagdeo said “the clock is ticking” while reiterating that once March 19 arrives, the PPP/C will not recognise the Government because that is the end of the three-month period following the no-confidence vote. He noted that the international community has been alerted to this.
The PPP General Secretary also cautioned supporters not to fall prey to the negatives being peddled on social media. He accused the coalition of creating “troll sites” that are feeding several negatives aimed at creating disenfranchisement among the supporters of that party.
“You are going to hear all kinds of silly, outrageous things. Ignore them, just move on,” he told the gathering.
He accused the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) of preaching “a lot of gloom”, noting that they have failed on every promise they made. Jagdeo noted too that the coalition was doing everything it could to hold onto power, but reminded that its time was limited.
Referring to the court cases that were filed by Government in relation to the no-confidence resolution, Jagdeo said, “They are going to lose this case… We have made it clear, that since the legislature has spoken, once you get past the 90 days, then this Government will become illegitimate and illegal.”
Meanwhile, the Party’s General Secretary told the media on the sidelines of the event that a committee has been set up to craft the next election manifesto of the PPP/C. That committee, according to Jagdeo, will meet today to continue the process, which begun some time ago.
“So, it is being crafted. Lots of ideas we have already that are from the past manifesto, and lots of ideas that we have already stated like the job creation and so on,” he explained.
This committee, according to Jagdeo, is made up of himself, presidential candidate Irfaan Ali, Dr Frank Anthony, Shyam Nokta and Odinga Lumumba, among other executive members.
Jagdeo said that this process was likely to be opened up to allow for the input of a wide cross-section of members and executives of the Party, with the hope of crafting the best possible manifesto.
During his address on Sunday at a public meeting, Jagdeo reaffirmed his recent announcement that the Party plans to reopen sugar estates and work to advance job creation.
Asked whether Ali will be serving as the next Opposition Leader until elections, Jagdeo said that was not decided on as yet, but said because elections are looming, this may not change.
“We have not decided on that as yet, because we are now in a shortened period of Government. I doubt we will ever go back to Parliament,” he told media operatives on Sunday.
Questioned on the process for a prime ministerial candidate, the General Secretary said that that process has not been initiated, but could run simultaneously with the manifesto drafting.
“That’s the position. I have not spoken with anyone on the prime ministerial candidate. This is for the party leadership [to] decide.”
He said, “A lot of things are fluid now. We have to get past the presidential candidate. This is essential for the process to move forward.”