“Despite all the charges that come with feelings of insecurity with each other, a case cannot be made that there has been discrimination and differentiation in our work,” said Samuel Hinds, who has been Prime Minister since the PPPC regained office in 1992.
Under pressure from a seemingly more organised opposition that is targeting a young voting population, the PPPC is seeking a sixth straight term at the May 11, 2015 general elections.
He credited his administration with bringing improvements to Guyana across the board without considering race, religion, region or political affiliation. “Everyone in Guyana has had a fair share of the opportunities that came our way,” he told the poorly attended meeting at Kaikan Street and Aubrey Barker Road, South Ruimveldt.
The PPPC is largely supported by Guyanese of East Indian descent while the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), which is the major party in A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), draws the bulk of its support from among Afro-Guyanese.
PPP Executive Committee Member, Dr Roger Luncheon stressed that the PPPC has developed Guyana since returning to office in 1992 and has realized many of the promises that were made in 1966 at the time of political independence in 1966. Luncheon urged the community to scrap blind loyalty to the PNCR/ APNU+ Alliance For Change (AFC) and consider the PPPC’s “track record” and “service.” “It is much more than the track record. It is the culture. You have to compare the track record my friends,” he said.
Luncheon, who has served as Head of the Presidential Secretariat since 1992, used the opportunity to briefly broadside those who view him as a sell-out to Afro-Guyanese. “I, as a member of the People’s Progressive Party epitomize the degree to which this party embraces service and service to the Guyanese people. They can call me whatever the hell they want to call me: coolie dog, black dog. They can call me anything but the twenty-three years that I have served and others like me has seen service to all, all, all, all of Guyana, all of Guyana,” said a frail looking Luncheon who still has a very strong voice. Luncheon accused the opposition of being pre-occupied with grabbing and holding on to power by fear and foul means including rigging elections even in the face of failed promises.
The Prime Minister cited examples of the PPPC focusing on the effective distribution of resources such as the renegotiation of an international loan that the previous administration had secured to build 15 new “top level” primary schools at a cost of GUY$200 million to GUY$300 million. Instead, he said the money was used to repair all primary schools.
Similarly, he said government has been improving and increasing access to health care and housing across the country. “The charge used to be hurled at us that we were discriminating in housing but you don’t hear it anymore because it is not true,” he said.
Touching on the thorny issue of corruption that has dogged the PPPC administration since coming to office, Hinds reiterated that all major contracts are awarded based on public tender in which contractors bid, their bids opened and announced publicly by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board and eventually awarded. “At least in the area of contracts being awarded, we have a process that is open and is transparent as can be,” he said.
At least 570,000 persons are registered to cast their ballots at 2,299 polling stations across this 83,000 square mile country.