Former President, Bharrat Jagdeo Saturday afternoon warned supporters of his People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) that if they do not turn out and vote resounding next month, the opposition would cause unrest.
Addressing thousands of supporters at a rally at Damon Square, Essequibo Coast, he said already the opposition was setting the stage for disturbances by already objecting to the voters’ list.
“On May the 11th the victory must be a decisive one… It must be an overwhelming PPPC victory… If we have a narrow victory, you gonna have trouble on the streets and they are preparing for trouble,” he said.
Opposition Leader, David Granger has already described the voters list, which now stands at little more than 570,000 persons, as “dirty.” There were 475,496 eligible voters for the November 2011 elections.
Guyana’s population is 751,223 based on the 2012 census.
The voters’ list is regarded in some quarters as bloated because the names of many dead persons are still on the list because their deaths have not been officially registered.
Jagdeo stressed that the PPPC has to ensure its victory is of such that the coalition “cannot challenge the results at all.” The PPP has already publicly conceded that it had found it difficult to get its supporters out to vote in the 2011 elections due to complacency, a younger voter population that is unaware of the People’s National Congress rule from 1964 to 1992, and voter apathy. The PPP lost its simple majority in the 65-seat National Assembly by one seat at the last elections in which the Alliance For Change (AFC) had made inroads into the PPPC’s traditional East Indian support base.
Now, the AFC is part of a coalition with A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).
Observers say that Jagdeo’s latest warning about unrest is yet another element of fear-mongering; the others being that the Guyana dollar would devalue to GUY$500 to US$1.00 and the United States would tighten up on the issuance of visas if the opposition wins.
Jagdeo also promised rice farmers that steps are being taken to address concerns about long-delayed and lower prices. Following a recent interaction with rice farmers, Jagdeo announced that he has since held talks with President Donald Ramotar to find ways of ensuring that the high prices being paid by Venezuela for rice and paddy trickles down to farmers.
The opposition APNU+AFC has been also seeking to capitalize on the financial woes of rice farmers on the Essequibo Coast.