… promises to fight for Guyana’s future in 2020 General Elections
While outlining his former position that the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) will not sit idly by and allow injustice to take place, especially during the next General and Regional Elections, the party’s Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo says that this will be done without the inclusion of violence.
His comments comes amid criticisms over his warning and that of his party, to the Government, of possible consequences to come if they make any attempt to tamper with the election, results both at the Local Government and national levels.
“We are not a violence peddling party. We are about progress, but we are not a walk over too. If the moment they (Government) believe they can walk over us, that’s the end. They will rig the election. If they feel we are not a walk over, they will have to think twice about doing it,” he explained.
Nevertheless, Jagdeo said despite these concerns, it would be difficult for the coalition to rig an election. He said pre 1992, the electoral process was compromised for many reasons.
But based on the new system, while there still may be some loopholes, it is better and allows for greater scrutiny.
“We know they (Government) will try. That’s the nature of the beast. But we can’t give up, we have to fight. Look at what Cheddi Jagan did, when it was worst under (Forbes) Burnham. They didn’t even have a media. But open societies don’t allow dictatorship to strive and we could expose them,” he added.
The PPP/C General Secretary has advised his supporters against worrying over the issue. “If you think our party is not looking at it, then you’re wrong. We are looking at every single possible way they can rig the elections. From padding the list, the voters list, to the GRO (General Register Office),” he stated.
Jagdeo said his party is engaged in planning for the next elections already and is working assiduously to get into election mode from now. He noted that polling agents will be recruited and stationed even at the some 300 plus A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) strongholds.
“So, what we are doing? We’re checking. We are not sitting on our hands and just complaining about it. We have people who are checking to see if there is any spike in registration. We are going to be visiting some of those places that looks suspicious. We are doing something about it,” he asserted.
For this reason, Jagdeo said that is why the PPP/C is arguing for greater diversity at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) as well. “We are arguing that they have to find a transparent way of scrubbing the list. We have started to train our polling agents to go into the places where we know they could steal.”
He continued, “We are not sitting down and letting this fear paralyse us. And so this is what I have been saying, and I noticed that some people have been saying Jagdeo preaching violence. But it’s not violence. We filed our election petition because we feel the last election had irregularities and we pointed out that.”
The former Head of State also pointed out that regardless, the PPP/C still treats the Government as legal and legitimate. The Party is also engaged in discussions and debates at the level of the Parliament and has been playing its part as the Opposition on many fronts and pertaining to many issues.
Jagdeo said the PPP/C will be fighting for the future of Guyana. “This is what bothers them a lot. Because a lot of APNU supporters from the past who supported them just in the last elections, they’re eyes have been opened. They realise that this Government has no intention of helping poor people, even the business community. Many of them are coming to the PPP, they are joining our party.”
Only recently, Jagdeo also raised concerns again about thousands of Haitian nationals who arrived in Guyana, but many of them have not left the country. He alleged that they may have been trafficked here.
He also raised concerns over the Government moves to create new townships as a means of trying to tamper with the current system and create an avenue for them to allegedly tamper with the votes. Although this has allegedly happened previously, the PPP still managed to sweep a major victory at the last Local Government Elections (LGE).