by Zena Henry
Closing in on the final leg to General polls less than two weeks away, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has mounted pressure on A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) to release their manifesto.
A senior official of the coalition told Demerara Waves Online News that APNU+AFC’s manifesto would be launched before this weekend.
The party came in for strong criticisms from Finance Minister Ashni Singh Thursday April 29, when his party hosted a press conference at Freedom House on Robb Street. Singh said that the failure of the opposition to release the “official” version of their plans for the people is the ultimate insult to citizens.
“It is the ultimate insult to the electorate for a party to be going to national elections without having present to the people of Guyana in a written document what commitments are for that electorate.” “You’re going to a national election and 10 days before, you cannot provide to the people of Guyana a formal written document… this is a poor display of any commitment to governance whatsoever,” he said.
He opined that the Coalition is having internal issues with power distribution and ideas on policies since what APNU+AFC’s most executive members say on their campaign trail is in contrast with an alleged leaked draft of the party’s way forward.
Singh pointed to what he called, “extremely alarming pronouncements” in the opposition’s manifesto which he sees as being unrealistic and unattainable, before questioning “When will the nation see your final manifesto?”
He said that the nation has seen how the party will be distributing the spoils of power, “but we have not seen as yet; and we are 11 or 12 days away from an election; and the APNU+AFC has not seen it fit to make available to Guyana a final manifesto.” For now, Singh said the government must work with the “alleged leaked document” made public by this very online news site.
The Minister is of the view that the Opposition has yet to agree on the simple matters which would allow them to put out a comprehensive, workable strategy.
He highlighted for instance that on the campaign trail, while the Coalition’s Prime Ministerial candidate Moses Nagamootoo has been telling citizens about the reduction of the President’s power, his Presidential running mate, David Granger, “has remained very quiet.” After reading comments from Granger which Singh believes contrasts Nagamootoo’s position on Presidential power, he charged that, “Clearly Mr. Granger has no intentions of reducing any Presidential powers…”
Singh went on to say that Nagamootoo is claiming that Granger will hand over Presidential power to the Prime Minister, “the entire exposition on Constitutional reforms has no credibility … and is designed to mislead.”
Singh claimed that while the Coalition is claiming support for the 16,000 sugar workers in the industry, their leaked manifesto has reported that the sugar fields are “natural ten acre pounds,” viable for aqua- culture development. Singh charged that the opposition must state definitively “what they intend for the sugar industry.”
On another “extremely alarming pronouncement,” Singh ridiculed the Coalition saying that not even the party’s “most deluded apologist” actually believes that they stand a chance of winning a 75 percent majority in Parliament which would afford them the opportunity to substantiate definitive statements such as commissioning the Public Procurement Commission “forthwith”.
He said he does not understand how the party can establish the commission, “when they know full well they will not win 75 percent majority of the votes.” He bundled the issue with the rest of attainable unrealistic claims by the Coalition.
Singh insisted his believe that the party has not reached an agreement on the simple matters such as the role of the president and, “That is why they cannot come out with a final product… Nagamootoo busy running around, Granger saying one thing and this document is saying a third set of things.”