Addressing party faithful at Babu John, Port Mourant, fomer President Bharrat Jagdeo scoffed at plans by the opposition coalition of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and Alliance For Change (AFC) to appoint two vice presidents if it: wins the May 11 2015 general and regional elections.
“This is all age old Burnhamism. Vintage Burnhamism,” said Jagdeo in reference to PNC-led administration of tlate President Forbes Burnham between 1964 and 1985.
Jagdeo, who was president from 1999 to 2011, said the coalition’s presidential candidate, David Granger, plans to reintroduce the Guyana National Service (GNS).
“He is stuck in that mindset. He draws his philosophy from that period,” he told an estimated 2,000 per persons, most of whom were trucked in to the home village of late PPP founder-leader Dr Cheddi Jagan.
Both Jagdeo and incumbent President Donald Ramotar lambasted the coalition for not contributing to a wide array of changes but instead steadfastly opposed several infrastructural projects such as the Amaila Falls Hydropower project and the Specialty Hospital.
“All they have changed is their names. They’ve been changing their names. That doesn’t change the substance of the opposition. That doesn’t change the characters of the opposition,” he said in reference to the PNC changing its name to PNC Reform, PNC Reform One Guyana and then A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).
Ramotar, in his address, remarked that only criminals change their names.
Jagdeo pointed to new financial laws, improvements in housing, health and education, reduction in national debt servicing from 94 percent in 1992 to four percent of GDP and the construction of the Berbice River Bridge as a few of the achievements of the PPP-Civic led administration.
Touching on the opposition’s budget cuts for university tuition fees, the Amerindian Development Fund and the Low Carbon Development System (LCDS) as well as the veto of a number of mega projects, Jagdeo said Ramotar’s three-year presidency must have been frustrating and he should have taken decisive action.
“Donald you are a democratic man but sometimes we need to kick up some asses,” he said.
Jagdeo lampooned Granger and the coalition for seeking to brand themselves as new politicos and that Guyanese must forget the past. The former president urged Guyanese not to ignore that Granger was a member of the Guyana Defence Force when guns went missing and eventually turned up in the hands of criminals and late Working People’s Alliance co-leader Dr Walter Rodney was assassinated on June 13,1980.
He questioned why Granger and former PPP executive member Moses Nagamootoo have not appeared before the Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry. Nagamootoo, a former journalist at the time of Rodney’s death, was also criticised for not testifying before the commission of inquiry.