Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Sunday urged supporters of his People’s Progressive Party (PPP) to vote solidy at the upcoming local government elections to act as a buffer against some of central government’s discriminatory policies.
At the same time, he called on PPP members, when elected councillors at the March 18, 2016 Local Government Elections (LGE), to treat supporters properly rather than chase them away. “When we win these NDCs (Neighbourhood Democratic Councillors) our comrades will have to act differently our councillors will have to act differently. They can’t chase people who go to their offices and complain. They have to explain to them some of the issues in their NDCs. If they don’t have money to do something, they have to hold the shoulders of their comrades and say ‘I can’t do this, we can’t do this, we don’t have the money,” he said. The time has come, he argued, for an end to the “sniping” and a focus on “team work.”
He assured that the PPP would be strengthened bottom-up and “there is no place for arrogance.”
He was at the time addressing hundreds of party-faithful at the annual observance of the death anniversary of the PPP’s founder-leader and late President, Cheddie Jagan at Babu John, Port Mourant, Corentyne.
Jagdeo stressed the need to control the 71 local authorities- towns and neighbourhood councils- to help partly protect citizens against some of the coalition’s policies. “It is only field work that will bring out the vote,” he said.
The Opposition Leader said a ‘post mortem’ of the PPP’s defeat at the May 11, 2015 general elections showed that the party has the support but its structures collapsed. “We were looking good on paper but not in structure. We had support but our structures were weak,” he said.
For the first time he listed several reasons other than complacency that caused the PPP to lose the elections. They include being lured by false promises such as increased pensions, salaries and payments for paddy as well as lower Value Added Tax (VAT) and repeated accusations of massive corruption. “Those people were misled,” he said. He advised PPP supporters to strengthen their base and work in APNU’s because many of them are disappointed in the false promises of the David Granger-led administration.
Jagdeo called for more women and youths to join or rejoin the PPP. Those persons, he said, should be mentored by older party members.
Sunday’s event- the first since the PPPC’s defeat last year and ahead of this month’s local government elections- was fairly well attended. There were fewer 60 seater trucks and 30 seater buses, a number of them coming with a few occupants. Most attendees came here in privately-owned vehicles.
Dr. Jagan died in office in 1995, three years after he was elected. He and the PPP had been in opposition for almost 30 years.