Last Updated on Saturday, 17 December 2016, 17:14 by Denis Chabrol
Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo on Saturday it is time the People’s Progressive Party unshackle itself from one “isms” and instead focus on what is good for Guyana, even as he said it is time to welcome disappointed supporters of the governing coalition.
Addressing the opening of the PPP’s 31st Congress at Cotton Field Secondary School, Jagdeo expressed concern that some party supporters were using old philosophical positions to hold on to the past.
“We can’t be trapped by any philosophy or anything of that sort. We cannot be trapped in historical notions about what path of development we must pursue. We have to pursue a path of development that is good for the people of Guyana and all of them,” he said.
He later told Demerara Waves Online News that “too often we try to funnel everything through the concept of “isms”, capitalism, socialism etc.”. He said he does not support the removal of references to Marxism- Leninism from the PPP’s constitution but there needs to be flexibility.
At the same time, he told observers and delegates that the PPP needs to return to its “founding principles” by reaching out to all segments of society. “It has to change, too, but change does not mean that we are giving up on our core principles because too many people today invoke Cheddi Jagan’s name to support inflexibility,” he said.
Describing late PPP founder leader and President, Cheddi Jagan as one of the most nimble intellectuals who had been flexible, the de facto PPP Leader urged that party members use Jagan:s philosophy and “effefct changes in this party.”
Jagdeo did not name anyone, but he said “malicious” people have sought to link change with discarding old people.
The historically left-leaning party, which is Marxist-Leninist, as far back as 1992 inherited and continued with the market-oriented Economic Recovery Programme (ERP) under the auspices of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Jagdeo said over the next few days, PPP delegates would assess the reason his party lost the May 2015 general and regional elections “or we cannot fix the problems that led us to be in opposition.”
Against the backdrop of what his party has called a taxation-driven budget, corruption and bad governance by the governing APNU+AFC coalition, he urged party members not to shun disappointed and disgruntled supporters of the coalition although they did not vote for the PPP.
“Let us all of you create that space for them. Do not send people away. We are broad minded enough. They don’t have to be party members but we must have a sympathetic ear to all suffering Guyanese,” he added.
He said between now and 2020 when Guyanese are expected to return to the polls, the PPP would consolidate its East Indian and Amerindian support base while seeking to make inroads in the APNU stronghold. “We will also campaign in areas that we did not have support; over the next two years we are going to take our message right across Guyana because our message is one of progress and bringing people together, not dividing them,” he said.
Jagdeo urged older party members to assist in attracting youths, women and all genders into the PPP fold as part of an overall plan to survive into the next 25 years.
The de facto PPP leader assured that if his party wins the next general elections, all Guyanese would be treated fairly. “We will treat people even who do not support us fairly because we will have no moral right to fight discrimination that this government has institutionalized if we ourselves discriminate against people because of their race and their religion,” he said.
Taking advantage of the presence of top executives of the Private Sector Commission- Gerry Gouveia and Ramesh Dookhoo as well as his good friend Dr Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop and labour leader Carville Duncan , the Opposition Leader said they must realise that the coalition has failed to keep its promises.