As the countdown continues to Local Government Elections (LGE) 2023, the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) has been hit by yet another defection, this time, by longstanding party member Ronald Backer, who has thrown his support behind the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).
Backer formerly served as a political adviser to former Director General under the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Government and former Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon.
In an interview broadcast, Backer spoke of why he will be backing the PPP/C. According to him, the current Administration has been doing good work.
“I’ve been trying to switch over to the PPP/C because of the amount of good work I see they are doing. I’m formally coming over to the PPP… what I’ve been seeing in the Administration is very good work and I will support the PPP in getting votes out in this election,” Backer said on Saturday.
The Opposition has been rocked by a number of defections of notable figures in their party, who have gone over to the PPP/C over the past few months. Former Georgetown Mayor Patricia Chase-Green and sitting APNU Councillor Trichria Richards were among the new personalities who have gone over to the PPP/C as the party vies to take control of Georgetown at the Local Government polls.
They were among the large crowd of PPP/C members and candidates who arrived at the Critchlow Labour College last month to submit the party’s candidate lists for the LGE polls set for Monday, June 12.
Chase-Green and Richards were both once members of APNU on the Georgetown Mayor and City Council. Chase-Green had expressed confidence in both the vision of her party of choice and the list they submitted.
In an interview with this publication, Richards had said her decision to join PPP/C stemmed from her lack of confidence in her former party. According to her, she had confidence in the PPP/C’s plans.
“I have no confidence in the APNU/AFC coalition, more so the PNC. And the PPP is all about development and progress, and I want my constituencies to be a part of that. That’s why I [opted] to go with them,” Richards had said.
Since her defection, however, Richards has been faced with harassment by members of her former party. This prompted her to eventually make a Police report last month, saying in a statement that “It is indeed shocking to see the lengths to which some individuals would go to humiliate and intimidate persons who have exercised their constitutional rights to associate and to belong to any party, group or organisation of their choice.”
Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, the General Secretary of the PPP/C, has also been vocal in urging those who have left the APNU, to report any instances of bullyism and intimidation, to the Police. A special hotline (592) 700-8117 was created to facilitate this.
While he was not a part of APNU, popular entertainer and former Councillor Malcolm Ferreira was another new face to join the PPP/C. He had made it clear that he was with the PPP/C because of his confidence in its plan for the city, and his ability to work along with that party to get things done. He also noted that, since he was always an independent candidate, he could not be accused of “switching” allegiances.
PNU is only contesting 260 of the 610 constituencies, while groups and individuals are contesting, outside of those 260 areas, in another 58 constituencies. This means that APNU and other groups or individuals are contesting in a total of 318 constituencies.
Following the April 17 Nomination Day, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) had approved the List of Candidates for political parties, individuals, or groups who are contesting the June 12 Local Government polls.
GECOM has already announced that there will be no voting in 13 Local Authority Areas (LAAs) because there is no one to challenge the incumbent, including in Lethem (Region Nine) where APNU failed to even submit a candidate list.