The People’s Progressive Party Civic’s Prime Ministerial candidate, Elisabeth Harper would not be participating in a debate with her counterpart from the opposition coalition, Moses Nagamootoo because he has allegedly attacked and disrespected her on the campaign trail.
“It is for this reason that we view a public debate with Moses Nagamootoo as inappropriate, as he himself has been disrespectful and vile against Ms Harper and has shown no inclination to reverse or change this unacceptable course. The women of the PPP/C demand respect and equal treatment from those who present themselves as an alternative,” said the PPPC in a statement on Sunday.
Nagamootoo has in the past questioned the sincerity of Harper as a victim of domestic violence, to fight the scourge because she has been appearing at public rallies alongside Former President, Bharrat Jagdeo. Jagdeo has been accused by his former wife, Varshnie Singh of abusing her.
Harper, for her part, has said she has no time to respond such statements and was focused on promoting her platform. Days after her prime ministerial candidacy was announced, Harper appeared on a canned interview on state-run television, saying that her first husband had physically abused her.
In its statement, the PPPC said it was still willing for its Presidential Candidate, Donald Ramotar to face off with A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Presidential Candidate, David Granger in a public debate without any new conditions.
However, the ruling party maintained that it would not expose Harper to Nagamootoo because of APNU+AFC’s ongoing vile attacks against its women candidates, especially Harper, in an orchestrated media campaign. “These articles are disrespectful to women in the public service and show disregard to mothers, wives, and daughters who want to give service to our country.”
“Under these circumstances, we wish to state emphatically that the APNU/AFC Coalition’s demands for us to open Ms. Harper further to the bitter, rude and unbridled venom of disrespect from Moses Nagamooto in a Prime Ministerial debate is reprehensible.
We reject this demand and wish to state unambiguously, that our party will not attempt to dignify the callous contempt with which Moses Nagamootoo has sought to ridicule Mrs Harper and the personal hurtful and painful experiences of domestic violence she has exposed to the populace; with her participation in a debate with him,” states the PPPC.
APNU+ AFC has sought to justify the need for a prime ministerial candidate since the Prime Minister is constitutionally the President’s principal assistant and Leader of Government business in the House.