The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) says that more research and analysis is needed to determine whether the decline in the Region Six population could have ramifications for future political support of the party.
Clement Rohee, the party’s General Secretary says the PPP is yet to pronounce conclusively on the matter. He said that the alleged population decline in a region that is known as a PPP stronghold may not be accurate. He said that many critics of the party will try to insinuate that the party is losing support. For two consecutive general elections, the PPP/C’s total vote tally declined.
He said that at this time the PPP would also not be speculating on what the migration statistics mean for the party when asked by the Stabroek News if this trend was alarming given the public debate about snap elections and local government elections.
Former longstanding PPP member, Ralph Ramkarran, says that the 2012 census results, which highlights a drop in the Region Six population by 15,000, points to why the PPP/C lost its absolute majority in 2011 and there can be further erosion. In his column in the last Sunday Stabroek, Ramkarran stated that Regions 3, 5, and 6 are all party strongholds and collectively have seen a reduction in population by 20,000.
During the party’s weekly press briefing at Freedom House yesterday, Rohee spoke about the groundwork and data being collected by the party to study the migration patterns.
When asked by Stabroek News what the preliminary results of the survey had produced, Rohee stated that he didn’t wish to speculate.
Rohee was also asked why the PPP was so insistent that the timing was not right for the hosting of local government elections even though, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has made it clear that it is prepared once the order is given. He responded that “we have our concerns based on our groundwork and our knowledge and our experience with respect to holding of elections in this country.”
The party has been accused of making excuses and stalling the process. Critics state that the regional population figures in the census and the implied migration of tens of thousands over the last decade strongly correlate with the PPP’s failure to win a majority in the 2011 General Election.
Ramkarran stated that “The confirmation of what I and others have predicted and which is now supported by the census figures as to the decreasing Indian population, holds considerable implications for the outcome of any future elections. It demonstrates that the loss of the absolute majority by the PPP was no accident and was not only related to apathy and loss of support.
“It is now clear that it was also due to the reducing Indian population.
This being so, it means that the correcting of political mistakes alone will not be enough to restore it to political health. It needs to expand its political support across ethnic or traditional lines.”
Ramkarran’s statements add to criticisms that the PPP is fearful of going to local government elections given the declining population in its strongholds
Rohee stated that he was aware of this perception within the public but ventured no further. The General Secretary said that more analysis will need to be done based on the groundwork and that the party’s focus was ensuring that all persons eligible to exercise their franchise were able to do so.
He criticized GECOM for having in excess of 10,000 persons in need of transfers. The party had written GECOM in June asking for an extension of the latest cycle of continuous registration in order to facilitate the transfers. However, GECOM’s Public Relations Officer Vishnu Persaud told Stabroek News that “Persons were given the opportunity to apply for transfers throughout the sixth cycle and we have recorded 2,007 transfers.” No extension was granted.