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Jagdeo warns US visas will be hard to get if opposition elected

A section of the PPPC’s rally on Alexander Street, Kitty (PPP photo)

Former president Bharat Jagdeo told a rally in Kitty on Sunday that the opposition parties, if elected into power, will create adverse conditions which will force Guyanese to apply for visas in increasing numbers, thereby forcing the United States (U.S.) Embassy in Guyana to clamp down on visa distribution here.

Sunday’s rally marks the official commencement of the party’s election campaign ahead of the May 11 general and regional elections.

As hundreds of Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) supporters, decked in their white and/or red tops, listened intently, cheering for him ever so often, the former president outlined several predictions which did not adduce evidence to substantiate.

Jagdeo said that were the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) + Alliance for Change (AFC) coalition to win the May 11 elections, the exchange rate, which currently stands at around US$1.00 = US$213.00, would skyrocket to US$1.00 = GUY$500.00 in three years.  When the PPP came into office in 1992, the exchange rate was around US$1.00 = GUY$125.00

He also said “they would eat up all the money that we have in the central bank because that’s their way of doing things.” Noting that the U.S., as of recent, has been somewhat liberal in the issuance of visas, Jagdeo predicted that eventualities following a victory at the polls for the opposition parties “will trigger a mass exodus so that the U.S. Embassy (in Guyana) will have to clamp down, once again, in issuing visas.”

The former president also sought to edify those at the rally of an alleged knack on the part of the opposition parties for mobalising criminals.

“We have seen what they can do…a few years back (Moses) Nagamootoo and Nigel Hughes gave the president an ultimatum to dismiss (Home Affairs Minister Clement)Rohee or there will be consequences,” Jagdeo recalled.

The ultimatum he spoke of was made following the unjustified gunning down, in 2012, of 17-year-old Shaquille Grant, an Agricola youth, by members of the Guyana Police Force.

Members of the opposition had argued that the incident was yet another indictment on the performance of Rohee, and were adamant and pointed in their call for his removal.

“Of course the president ignored them, (and) by the next afternoon, thugs were mobalised… they blocked the roads, beat up people, women couldn’t pass there, people who live on the East Bank couldn’t go back home across…babies were crying on the streets because they couldn’t get to their families, women werepulled out of vehicles and harassed…,” Jagdeo said. He was referring to the Agricola unrest.

Jagdeo failed to mention that there is a feeling that statements made by Cabinet Secretary Roger Luncheon on the day of the unrest, that is, that government was “ready to rumble,” may have acted as a catalyst for the events.

Luncheon’s statements were in response to challenges and criticisms issued by the opposition parties and critics from other sections of society.

Despite having no evidence to justify the connection between prompting of the opposition parties and the Agricola unrest, Jagdeo told PPP/C supporters that “Nagamootoo doesn’t speak about that because it was his and Nigel Huhhes’ ultimatum thattriggered what happened in Agricola.”

He further saidthat the opposition parties, particularly APNU, is highly militaristic, criminal in purpose, and is prepared to use “violence to achieve its means.”

Jagdeo claims that the parties are already using violence to intimidate businesses to contribute to the campaigns of the opposition parties.

“They have already started threatening the businessmen, that if you don’t give us money for our campaign, they have a gang going around threatening business people that when we get in office were going to deal with you,” the former president alleged.

Jagdeo also used the opportunity to make public his perception on the homicide of Courtney Crum-Ewing, the activist who was gunned down in Diamond, East Bank Demerara (EBD) earlier this month, and whose killers remain at large.

“Who benefits from this? Definitely not the PPP…,” Jagdeo said, seeking to shrug off suspicious and claims that his party may have had something to do with Crum-Ewing’s death. Even as he dismissed any likelihood of the PPP/C’s involvement in the killing, Jagdeo said Crum-Ewing may have been killed to raise the ire of former police and army ranks against his party.

“They want ex-soldiers and policemen to get angry with us…theywant to go around using this to carry the whisper campaign to the afro-Guyanese villages like they did in 2011,” Jagdeo charged.