Guyana election: Two main parties square off

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, July 31, 2006 – The two main political parties in Guyana squared off last evening as campaigning for the August 28, 2006 continued.

The ruling People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) took their old stomping ground at Albion located in Berbice on the outskirts of the capital Georgetown while the main Opposition party, the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) took up position at its old battle field, the Square of the Revolution, in the capital.

The PPP/C urged re-election based on its record which the Opposition PNCR claimed was steeped in corruption and an inability to fight crime.

The charismatic Bharrat Jagdeo wearing colourful garlands launched into a speech of confidence promising victory for the fourth consecutive term.

“The PPP/C will win a resounding victory at the upcoming polls,” he told thousands of cheering supporters carrying the parties colours.

He painted a picture of the PPP/C as the party of the future as the only national, mass-based and multi-ethnic party in Guyana with a comprehensive vision for the future.

He lashed out at the PNCR as an incapacitated country unable to run a “cake shop” much less a country.

The President had stinging lashes for the Stabroek news which he suggested was aligned to the Alliance for Change (AFC) because it gave columns to its leaders even before the party was formed.

He also claimed that the Stabroek News gives unfair positioning and coverage to the Opposition parties – all in an effort, he charged, to ensure that the PPP/C gets a less than 50 per cent of the vote so it would be forced to form an alliance with other smaller parties.

“You can have a five hundred million dollars project just signed and they will find a way of putting it in the back page or not printing it at all. But (PNCR Leader) Mr (Robert) Corbin will say some nonsense and it gets to the front page … this is what they are about they are not newspapermen, they are not committed to fair policies, they are politicians so the response has to be political,” President Jagdeo charged.

In the capital, PNCR leader Robert Corbin launched a scathing attack on the PPP/C’s record of crime fighting and said the PNCR will recapture the government and make the country a better place by providing more opportunities and employment for the youth.

He aid a PNCR government would reintroduce a voluntary national service and will work towards removing immorality and corruption.

He said that while improved security was necessary to tackle crime, a more lasting and endurable co-solution was the high level of unemployment among the youth/

He also launched into the government saying that it was immersed in corruption by officials in high places.

Eleven political parties are contesting the 65 seats in the National Assembly. The system of election is by portional represenation with 25 of the 65 seats allocated to Regional Councils in 10 regions.