The PNCR has not officially launched its election campaign but presidential candidate, David Granger is already on the campaign trail and has been meeting with citizens across the country, particularly party members to strengthen the base.
“I’m on the trail,” Granger said recently though he pointed out that no date had been set for the official launch of the party’s campaign. His engagements have spanned Regions Four, Five, Six and Ten to date, with additional meetings being planned in other areas.
Granger is actively involved in the series of meetings which are expected to last until April; this as the party prepares for its campaign launch. He was in Linden recently and also met residents in the city on Sunday last, while this weekend his schedule placed him at New Amsterdam. He told Stabroek News during an interview last week that the groundwork he is doing has not yet reached the press.
Granger initially referred to the engagements as a “series of thank-you meetings,” but clarified that a critical focus is on mobilizing the party’s support base. He observed that the work is aimed at building up the strength of party members, in addition to sensitizing the public on the importance of uplifting their identification cards.
The countrywide discussions have also touched on the upcoming Claims and Objections period and according to Granger, he has called on citizens to make full use of that period. He said too that additional issues would enter the talks and are to be addressed.
Granger also spoke of his recent visit to the University of Guyana (UG), which he said was at the invitation of the student body. The UG session largely focused on the issues affecting the campus including the financial crisis, Granger noted, adding that he shared with the students aspects of a plan which the PNCR has to restore the institution to a leading one. However, he pointed out that the visit was not a “party” one.
“These students are concerned about their future and we have a plan to address the financial crisis and bring stability to that environment where the students are being educated,” Granger stated. He concluded after his interactions with the students that young people in the country are mainly interested in whether they have a future in Guyana.
Granger observed that many young people are interested in knowing that they do not have to migrate. He emphasized that the university is a national institution which requires a plan to turn things around, particularly at the Turkeyen campus. Since he was on the subject of UG, Granger was asked about the recent issue involving the Vice-Chancellor’s report which was made public, and which bemoaned a lack of funding to the institution.
“I viewed it as two separate issues… the institution is a public one and its affairs ought to be made public, including his financial affairs. But at the same time, the VC’s report was private correspondence between him and the council,” Granger said, noting that he preferred to view the issues as separate and not confuse one with the other.
Granger mentioned that talks among the Joint Opposi-tion Political Parties (JOPP) are progressing but no major decision has been made. He said a working group had been formed and is currently advancing the work of the group, but this is within committees.
Since the last meeting where he officially joined the JOPP talks there has not been another major meeting, Granger said, noting on that occasion the People’s Partner-ship led by Peter Ramsaroop had entered the discussions. “I know the working group is functioning and that they are trying to expedite things but we are still at that stage,” he added.
The JOPP is yet to identify a candidate to lead the coalition, but Granger has already plugged his readiness to lead, saying members of the JOPP would need to outline the conditions, which could result in him surrendering the presidential candidate post.
Since he was named as the PNCR presidential nominee Granger came in for harsh criticism from President Bharrat Jagdeo who attacked his character during a recent address at Babu John. But Granger responded saying that the President had no answers to the real issues facing citizens at Berbice and therefore, chose to attack him.