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Election campaigning on $2 M teeth work backfired on APNU+AFC, says Former Amerindian Affairs Minister

Former Amerindian Affairs Minister Pauline Sukhai

Former Amerindian Affairs Minister Pauline Sukhai on Saturday said attempts by the coalition to capitalise on her receipt of a whopping GUY$2 million in dental assistance backfired because the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) still won the mainly Amerindian populated regions.

“The fact that it was peddled pre-election gimmick, as an election campaign issue it did not resound in the hinterland as was expect for the coalition party that was expected to have a field day,” she told a news conference that was called to discuss government’s sacking of 1,972 Community Service Officers in mainly Amerindian communities.

Sukhai said the PPPC won Hinterland Regions- 1, 8 and 9.  Actual results showed that the PPP won the following regions that are largely populated by Amerindians:  1 and 9. The PPP lost Region 8 by one vote. There are also Amerindian communities in Regions Two, Four, Five, Six and 10.

She stressed that the May 11, 2015 general elections showed that the issue that featured prominently on the campaign of the A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) coalition did not dent the PPPC’s support base. “The results of the election show that the people of the hinterland resoundingly voted for the PPPC,” she said.

The President of The Amerindian Action Movement of Guyana, Peter Persaud has since sued government for GUY$10 million for allegedly wrongfully dismissing the officers and not paying them since April, 2015. “The young people today were denied their stipend and were disrespected. This government has no respect for Indigenous People and they have no development plan for the Hinterland and Amerindian youth,” said Sukhai.

Asked to respond to those who might question her moral authority to describe the dismissal of the CSOs as a “travesty,” Sukhai questioned whether she was not entitled to a whopping GUY$2 million in dental assistance because she was an Amerindian.

She said she was entitled to the monies spent on fixing her teeth, but she declined to provide details on the actual work done because her medical records are confidential. “My dental fee was an entitlement, it was duly approved and I have no fear,” she said. She rebuffed suggestions that her “entitlement” was discriminatory. “I don’t know that it is discrimination and I am not privy to Ministry of Health that anyone was ever denied so I can’t question and I would not pin it on discrimination,” she said. Sukhai recalled  supporting many requests for Amerindians to receive overseas medical treatment for more than GUY$2 million.

Sukhai, who has been identified to represent the PPPC in the National Assembly, said she had no direct hand in financing her dental work because that was the role of the Ministry of Health.