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PPPC meeting gets “warm reception” of heckling in Buxton

President Donald Ramotar and hecklers face-off in Buxton.

About 100 persons in Buxton village  Thursday day night heckled and booed President Donald Ramotar, ministers and other government functionaries while the incumbent People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) held a meeting in that village.

Police and a man clad in an APNU+AFC jersey kept the group on the southern side of the Railway Embankment Road to prevent them from surging forward to the stage at the corner of Middle Walk and Railway Embankment Road.

The group of mainly women waved APNU+AFC posters and a flag as they repeatedly shouted “lie,lie” “Granger, Granger,” and “boo, boo” while Housing Minister, Irfan Ali; Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall; Presidential Advisor, Odinga Lumumba and Ramotar spoke.

The jeering was never louder than when Ramotar arrived and throughout his speech. Clutching the microphones and placing his mouth closer to them in order to fight back the drowning out of his voice, the President urged the gathering not to be driven by emotions. “Comrades and friends, I  know this is not a time for you to be emotional. This is a time when you should put aside emotions and consider what is best for you, what is best for your family, what is best for your children and what is best for the country as a whole,” he said, adding that they should consider his government’s performance and policies.

At the end of Ramotar’s address, Lumumba invited the operator of the public address system to play some “PPP music” and at the same time he urged a cameraman to take images of the gathering dancing including two men who bent over and shook their buttocks to the stage.

As Lumumba reflected on how a number of well-known Buxtonian political activists like Eusi Kwayana and David Hinds were mistreated under the People’s National Congress (PNC) administration 30 years ago, the gathering hurled insults. One man even questioned Lumumba’s integrity and authority to speak on such matters. “He ah Bux’n man. Wah he ever do? He ever represent this village?”

Taunting a woman, saying she looked so nice and smelled so good, Lumumba told the gathering that “under the PNC you had to bathe in the trench, no soap” and also line up for kerosene and do without toilet tissue.

As the protest and heckling intensified, Lumumba questioned whether their leader David Granger would be proud of their behavior.

When the Attorney General took to the lectern, a man remarked “Chatree, Chatree” in apparent reference to Nandlall’s self-description during an infamous recorded telephone conversation with a Kaieteur News newspaper reporter late last year.  Acknowledging that Buxtonians traditionally vote for the opposition, he sought to highlight a number of improvements since the PPPC has been in office for the past 23 years. To that, a man retorted “alyuh thief out all we money” and “you have to investigate Jagdeo.” A number of women shouted “yuh lie, yuh lie” while he assailed the opposition for blocking the construction of a modern airport and other major projects.

Nandlall cited the construction and rehabilitation of roads, the reconstruction of Tipperary Hall, increased access to health care and the improvement of potable water supply as several of the achievements. As he offered up several promises to the village, the crowd erupted in a sustained chant of “Granger, Granger, Granger, Granger.” Nandlall, who hails from neighbouring Annandale, at that juncture told the gathering that if such behavior 30 years ago would have resulted in them being arrested and locked up.

The President, who described the disruption as a “warm reception here tonight,” reassured that his party in government would generate thousands of Information Communication Technology (ICT)-driven jobs.