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Africo Selman formally on PPPC ticket

The PPPC rally on Alexander Street, Kitty. (PPP photo)

Former A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Member of Parliament (MP) Africo Selman has formally joined up with the Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) and came out swinging against her old party during the party’s Kitty rally on Sunday.

Selman, whose resignation from APNU took effect on February 26th, expressed her “sincere gratitude” to the leaders and members of the PPP/C for taking her in. She explained that her reasons for leaving APNU included suffering the “worst forms of emotional and psychological abuse” at the hands of senior party officials.

Selman said she believes she would have eventually been physically abused had she not left when she did.

Commenting on her decision to join the ranks of the PPP/C, Selman said that the party has created an environment to take Guyana forward “even in the face of vendetta on the part of the opposition parties,” which, until February, she was a member of, and supported with her votes in the National Assembly.

In the coming weeks she will be hard-pressed to explain her criticism her the opposition parties’ stance against the PPP/C, considering the fact that she was an active participant on several occasions, particularly where voting in the National Assembly is concerned.

During her address, Selman blasted the coalition for what she perceived as its “betrayal” and “destruction” of the country, while urging “all Guyanese to stay as far away from APNU as you can.”

Reflecting on what she suggested to be a tumultuous stint with the opposition, Selman recalled that she joined the Peoples National Congress Reform (PNCR) in 2006, having been attracted by several policies in their manifesto, including plans to push for free education from nursery to tertiary institutions, and the development of a deep water harbor.

Selman now claims that “youth and their education, women and empowerment and Amerindian development” have all been cast aside under the leadership of Opposition Leader and presidential candidate of the APNU+AFC coalition, David Granger. She suggested that she was deceived by the party’s promises, and urged PPP/C supporters to not be deceived by the“empty promises of APNU and the AFC.”

This reality, she said, was made clear when the opposition parties voted to cut funding for development in Amerindian communities, as well as money toward the revolving loan fund for students seeking tertiary education at the University of Guyana (UG).

During the budget debates the opposition parties had argued that government intentionally linked non-contentious allocations with contentious ones to secure the passing of the latter.

Contentious allocations included funds for the expansion of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport and funds toward the Amaila Falls Hydropower project.

That monies for UG students and Amerindian communities were cut is destructive, and amounts to a betrayal, Selman says, even as she urged attendees of the rally to “vote solidly PPP/C” come May 11th

Selman is the latest of several MP’s to switch political parties in recent years. Senior AFC members Moses Nagamootoo and Khemraj Ramjattan were both former high-ranking members of the Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C), while Raphael Trotman, also a high-ranking AFC member, once stood with the PNCR.

Like those before her, particularly those who defected from the PPP/C, she, in coming weeks, will be forced to justify her recent criticism of the APNU, considering the fact that’s she voted for them every time. The likes of Nagamootoo have explained before that being part of a political party often means one has to ‘tow the line,’ even against ones’ conscience.

It is unclear what explanation Selman will offer.