PPP may picket Parliament today
-former MP Vindhya Persaud not in favour
The People’s Progressive Party was yesterday contemplating picketing the opening of the 11th Parliament at which President David Granger will be in attendance to address the Members of Parliament.
However, up to press time it had not stated whether it would do so and there were said to be dissenting views among its former MPs. The PPP/C will not be represented in Parliament today as it did not submit a list of MPs for gazetting. It won 32 of the 65 seats in the assembly.
Former President Donald Ramotar and General Secretary Clement Rohee among others met yesterday to discuss the party’s strategy for today while also contemplating to resume their protest at the Guyana Elections Commission (Gecom) calling for a total recount of votes and the resignation of Gecom Chairman Dr Steve Surujbally following the recently held elections. The party claims the elections were rigged and it was cheated.
The party is still to compile its list of parliamentarians while Gecom has approved the 2015 General and Regional Election results inclusive of the government’s list of MPs to be gazetted.
Rohee told Stabroek News yesterday that the MPs list was still not finalised and gave no indication that the party will be compiling the list within a specified time frame.
Stabroek News spoke with Ramotar briefly yesterday at which point he also stated that he had no comment on the party’s picketing agenda.
PPP/C MP in the 10th Parliament, Vindhya Vasini Persaud in an email to several of her colleagues opposed the plan to picket and said that the party should take up its seats in parliament even as it pressed ahead with a planned election petition.
In her email seen by Stabroek News, she said:
“I would like to advise against the picketing exercise planned for June 10th. My response comes against a backdrop of recent happenings.
“- Our Party has engaged in similar activity over the last few weeks and has gained minimal support from the public and its support base throughout the country. I would suggest this was due to the party’s failure to present to the public concrete evidence or convincing information in support of its claim that there was significant rigging that could have changed the results.
“I think the points of recount and lack of transparency have all been made by now. The protest actions have not yielded the desired results. In addition, positive responses from the international community and rights groups have not at all been forthcoming. To continue in this vein, emphasizes the fact that we have no influence in these quarters. Instead, we are perceived as disgruntled. This is demoralizing to our 200,000 + support base! I feel that the proposed exercise will harm us in more ways than it could possibly help.
“There is dynamism in the climate and we must demonstrate our readiness to ascertain the mood of persons out there and develop new, aggressive initiatives and strategies to preempt and when necessary to counter developments.
“- I strongly urge, as I did previously at our meeting, that we go to Parliament and represent our support base as a formidable opposition. We need to demonstrate a positive and united approach as a party and represent Guyanese at the highest level holding the de facto Government accountable for their actions. Their many actions taken since their ascendancy require our scrutiny, objection and rejection. In the height of rigged elections, Dr. Jagan went to Parliament as Opposition- he understood that the party’s voice needed to be heard and recorded at that level.
“We need to have an end game with multiple paths to same. While we may go ahead with our petition and pressure on GECOM, we must simultaneously take our seats in parliament continuously reminding APNU of their illegitimate occupation of their offices. We must prove that we are capable of being the opposition that we demanded of APNU while consistently articulating their every failure.”
Proposing that former Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh be supported as the new Opposition Leader, Persaud, the daughter of the late PPP executive Reepu Daman Persaud, also cited areas where the party had fallen down in the pre-elections and elections period.
“We are still reeling from the elections and pre-elections debacles; the Anil tape, the Bheri issue, the middle-finger (a reference to an election day pose by Rohee) and corruption at various levels. The recent instances of corruption, mismanagement and poor judgement from candidates and party members have further eroded our support.
“- The issues of the campaign billboards being charged to GWI/ Ministry of Housing and using Ministry of Tourism monies for flights to NY for campaign purposes – clear misuse and abuse of taxpayers monies. These validate the allegations of corruption that have dogged us.
“- The fact that one of our candidates, Raj Singh, publicly stated that Guysuco will not be able to pay salaries and will be closing down if it did not get the required funding just mere days after Guysuco would have been under our control was irresponsible and damaging. Would it not have been more favorable for our own PR if we had indicated the same while providing a solution where financing could have been acquired and demanding that current Government immediately put this in place and for sugar workers to be paid. Our sugar base would have immediately been grateful to the PPP for looking out on their behalf. We have instead created the opposite where the de facto Government has rescued the Corporation and chalked up its short comings to PPP/C incompetence.”
She also cited the pardoning of a child murderer. This was one of the last acts by Ramotar before demitting office
PPP may picket Parliament today