General Secretary of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), Joseph Harmon Tuesday night slammed the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) for attempting to win Afro-Guyanese support by putting up retired Brigadier Mark Phillips as its prime ministerial candidate.
“It is really a contemptuous act on the part of the PPP that says ‘look, once you put up a Black face deh, Black people are going to vote for you…No way, no way, no way, I say, no way I say, no way,” Harmon told the mainly Afro-Guyanese gathering.
Addressing hundreds of persons at Buxton Line Top, East Coast Demerara, Harmon said PPP General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo announcement that he was going after Black votes amounted to being “contemptuous of our people.”
“A contemptuous statement that he believes that a Black vote was there to buy, that he can buy us, that he can put up some platitudes, that he can put up some fake people and believe we’ll vote for them,” Harmon said. “He brings out the old Brigadier and puts that Brigadier out there to say ‘OK, we going to get the Black votes because we got this Brigadier’ but little does he know, we got a Brigadier already as the President; we got the real Brigadier,” Harmon added.
The APNU General Secretary noted that APNU+AFC also has senior ex-military officers such as Rear Admiral Gary Best and Major-General Edward Collins, which would relegate Phillips to being a “drop in the ocean.”
Harmon poked fun at Phillips, calling him “another Sam Hinds,” who critics regarded as a symbolic Afro-Guyanese in a predominantly East Indian-supported PPPC.
Jagdeo last Sunday told a rally to mark the launch of the PPPC’s 2020 general election campaign that his party is open to historically traditional APNU supporters, a number of whom are already cautiously joining its ranks. He said the 70-year-old PPP is open to support from Afro-Guyanese. “This party is the natural home for Afro-Guyanese too because it is a party that believes in progress, poor people, everyone else so you don’t let anyone fool you. We are extremely proud of the support we got from Indo-Guyanese and we have worked hard in the Amerindian communities and the fact remains is that they support us overwhelmingly because they have seen progress in their communities,” he said.
Touching on the selection of Brigadier Phillips as the PPPC’s prime ministerial candidate, Jagdeo said the former Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force provided “distinguished service” and he is known for his “likeability in the army etc”. “He is not going to say to nobody in army, to the police and the others that the bonus was a bribe or he is not going to tell that people, like Granger did, that people below 5’8″ cannot be marching in parades because it offends itself of properness…that’s a new form of discrimination, shortness,” Jagdeo has said.