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PPP will hold govt accountable to election promises- Jagdeo

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo speaking in the National Assembly on Monday, August 17, 2015

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Monday said the focus of his People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) would be holding government accountable to its election promises.

“We’ll be here to expose any attempt to move away from what they have promised the electorate,” he said.

The former Guyanese leader said the PPP would be placing emphasis on government’s policies that would harm Guyana’s interest in the future. “We are going to hold them to account on many of the issues that they talked about in the past so I see that as the essential role of the opposition,” said Jagdeo, a Russian-trained economist.

Government had promised steep increases in salaries for teachers and members of the Guyana Police Force, particularly those serving in remote interior locations. So far, Old Age Pensions have been increased and the minimum salary has been hiked to GUY$50,000 but exemptions from water and electricity to senior citizens have been scrapped.

Jagdeo said he planned to fulfill his constitutional role of consulting with President David Granger when the need arises, even as the opposition party awaits the outcome of a High Court petition that challenges the outcome of the May 11, 2015 general and regional elections.

“We will full our role as an opposition. We’re not happy with the results of the elections. We have filed an elections petition but there’s a government in place and we are in opposition. We are going to fulfill our constitutional responsibilities,” he told reporters.

The President and the Opposition Leader are constitutionally required to consult on the establishment of a number of Commissions and the appointment of a Police Commissioner.

Jagdeo, who was President from 1999 to 2011, said that now he is back in the limelight, “I am starting to get the feel of competitive politics.”

Asked whether he would be running as the PPP’s presidential candidate in the next elections, he said “that’s premature.” “We said already that the group that is coming in here as MPs would not necessarily be the group that takes us into an election. Our emphasis has to be on young people,” he said.

The High Court recently ruled that an amendment to the Constitution that provides for a term-limit was unconstitutional because it was done by the National Assembly rather than by a referendum. Government has since appealed that decision.