As members of the joint services prepare to cast their votes tomorrow (Friday, February 21, 2020) General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo is urging ranks to support the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) as the party that will look out for them.
“We hope that the joint services will support a party that looks out for them…Think carefully, you’re voting for yourselves and your families,” Jagdeo stated at his weekly press conference today (Thursday, February 20, 2020).
Among the party’s plans for the development and enhancement of the security sector are training, adequately equipping each entity and using resources from the oil and gas sector to modernise the joint services. He added that there will be no political interference and abuse of law enforcement officers under a PPP/C administration.
Jagdeo took the opportunity to remind the joint services of the treatment meted out to them by the incumbent Coalition administration, with the most recent being the removal of the one-month tax-free bonus.
“They took away the joint services bonus with some disingenuous arguments, one that “oh, we don’t have money”… Then [Finance Minister Winston} Jordan had the gal to say it was a bribe to the policemen and the soldiers and the firemen and the others – paid by the PPP to suppress Guyanese. Ask any policemen or soldier or firemen if there was any instruction given to them to suppress Guyanese,” he posited.
According to Jagdeo, the bonus was a recognition of the sacrifices made by these lawmen by putting their lives at stake while on duty.
He went onto highlight another issue which has impacted the joint services, that is, the Commission of Inquiry into the 2008 Lindo Creek Massacre. That probe, he noted, was aimed at implicating the lawmen.
“They only held a Commission of Inquiry to absolve ‘Fine Man’ and implicate the joint services… The joint services should understand now who are their friends. They should remember that,” he contended.
The PPP General Secretary also reminded Police officers that it was this Coalition that halted promotions and politicised the system with the appointment of Paul Slowe as the Head of the Police Service Commission.
Jagdeo added too that the administration had initially removed retirement benefits for army members who retired early after serving a number of years, but reintroduced after the intervention by the PPP.
According to the PPP General Secretary, the ranks need to think carefully when casting their votes tomorrow.
As customary during any elections, members of the disciplined services are required to cast their votes ahead of the polling day so that they are available for posting at the various polling stations and other strategic locations as required by law without disenfranchising them.