Teetering under pressure from the opposition-controlled House, the governing Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) on Sunday openly appealed to its waning support-base to work hard to secure total control of the lawmaking body.
Using its 21st anniversary in office, the PPPC pointed to its record in improving health, education, housing, water supply, roads and the quality of life of old age pensioners.
Two months after delegates to the PPP’s Congress expressed grave concern that the party appeared to have lost touch with much of its support-base, General Secretary Clement Rohee lamented at a rally at Lusignan, East Coast Demerara that the party faithful must meet with people at every level to help regain majority in the 65-seat House.
“Well comrades, if we want that we got to work for it. We got to work hard. We got to work day-in, day and night and we got to pledge ourselves that each and everyone of us will go out there and do the work on the ground,” said Rohee.
Rohee told the gathering that the opposition has always been hell-bent on removing the PPP from office because they felt that the party did not have the calibre of people to run Guyana and instead saw them as people who cut grass, rice, cane and catch fish.
Another stirring appeal to PPP supporters and members came from former President, Bharrat Jagdeo. He advised them to acknowledge that there are grievances but they should examine the economic, social and political achievements since the PPP came to office in 1992. “All of you when you go back to your villages, support the groups coming around. Let’s go to every home, every single home, talk to the comrades. Say ‘we know you may have grievances but look at the big picture. If we don’t look at the big picture, we will regret it some time in the future,” he said. He said being in office for 21 years meant that some supporters would not easily recognize the achievements.
Jagdeo accused the opposition of attempting to rewrite history and possibly taking advantage of youths who did not experience the Peoples National Congress (PNC), now a major partner in A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), in government. “Our memories are either too short or secondly they are capitalizing on an entire generation that grew up under the PPP that doesn’t know the hardships of the past so they cant assess how far we have come,” he said.
In his address, President Donald Ramotar recalled that when the PNC was in government from 1964 to 1992, that period was characterized by violation of press freedom, freedom of expression, political killing and rigged elections.
The Guyanese leader echoed sentiments similar to those of other speakers. He urged supporters to remember where the country had been and focus on the journey ahead.
“Tonight, I want to ask you to stand with us because danger lurks at the door. We, therefore, must stand together,” he said.
The PPPC, at the November 2011 general election, clinched 32 seats. However, the Ramotar administration is constantly peeved that APNU , with its 26 seats, teams up with the Alliance For Change’s (AFC) seven to cut the national budget and vote down several key bills, motions and major projects including the Amaila Falls Hydropower plant, modernization of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) and the Specialty Hospital.
The opposition, for its part, has been questioning whether spending huge sums on those projects makes sense.