Leader of the Opposition, David Granger says APNU will be conducting an intense campaign to make a clean sweep of the seats on both the Linden municipality and the Kwakwani Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC).
At a meeting held on Sunday at the New Silver City Secondary School to educate Lindeners on the new electoral system for local government, Granger said another team of APNU officials had also travelled to Kwakwani to host a similar meeting. He said the party has been forced to play catch-up as the PPP/C had gone into election mode since its congress held in Port Mourant on August 2.
However, Granger noted that Region Ten Chairman Sharma Solomon had indicated that some preparatory work had been done in the region for APNU’s campaign for the upcoming local government elections. APNU has also appointed a campaign manager to guide this process and it is going into the local government elections with the combination of the five political parties that are under its umbrella in the National Assembly.
Stressing that the PPP/C is already in elections mode, Granger said: “They are using this local government elections as a barometer of their support and they are in a struggle. They know that APNU have them against the ropes. They know they are faltering. They had a meeting at Lusignan and they had more trucks than people. People are not coming out. Even in the PPP strongholds … the people are not showing up.”
According to him, the ruling party is already using state resources to get an advantage but former PPP members and supporters are joining APNU because it is a principled party. Granger said national elections are due in 2016 but when the campaign for local government elections picks up momentum the country will be in election mode for the next 36 months. Emphasizing that the local government elections campaign is very important for Region Ten, the APNU leader stressed that the month-long electricity protest in Linden in July – August last year was a battle to ensure that the rights of the ordinary people; grass-roots people, are respected.
“Local government elections bring home the reality that all politics is local and the power must be placed in your hands. Unfortunately, as we speak today, we look at the graves of two democratic structures: one at Kwakwani and the other at Linden,” Granger said. He further explained that he referred to them as “graves” because both offices have IMCs installed instead of living, democratic structures.
APNU members and supporters must be watchdogs “… you don’t want to hear IMC in nothing for the rest of your lives. There must be living organizations in the form of the town council and the RDC … and what is about to be embarked upon could put power in their hands.”
Granger, also the leader of APNU and the PNCR, said that talk of a national snap election is unfounded since the government has the phenomenal task of preparing for local government elections covering six municipalities and 65 NDCs by June next year. Noting that 71 separate elections in one day is a huge task for the administration to undertake, Granger also pointed out that the tenth Parliament has already used up 40% of its time and by the time local government elections are
held in June it would have gone halfway into its term.
He said APNU’s campaign will be based on four Ms: a clear mission to win the local government elections handsomely; a clear message that highlights the wrongs of the PPP/C administration and what APNU will do to empower people at the grass-roots level; harnessing scarce means to effectively pursue its mission; and using all media platforms, including traditional mass media, social media and blogging to get its messages out to the widest cross-section of people.
Granger also exhorted his audience to ensure that they obtain their national identification cards as they will be barred from voting at the local government elections if they are not registered. He also encouraged parents and guardians to ensure that children who will be fourteen years of age and older by December 31, 2013 to register. The Guyana Elections Commission (Gecom) started the fifth cycle of Continuous Registration on September 2 in its 27 permanent Gecom Registration Offices across the regions and this exercise will end on November 23. (Jeff Trotman)