PPP General Secretary (GS) Clement Rohee was tight-lipped yesterday on how the APNU/AFC alliance would impact on the ruling party’s campaign for the May 11 general elections and suggested that historical voting patterns would be key to advancing the party’s electoral fortunes.
Responding to a question from Stabroek News at the PPP’s weekly press briefing at Freedom House, Rohee could not say how the APNU/AFC alliance will impact the PPP’s campaigning and whether or not the formation of the grouping will see a change in the PPP’s strategies. Instead, Rohee said, the Guyanese population has continued to maintain historical “voting patterns”.
He said that the party will continue to study the political developments in Guyana from a scientific standpoint. Rohee was pressed to expand on the specific strategies and tools used by the party to analyse voting trends to explain the decline in votes for the PPP/C in the last three elections. He responded that collectively, members come up with scenarios to advance the party’s electoral fortunes.
Rohee admitted that the PPP made mistakes in the 2011 elections which resulted in a one-seat majority to the collective opposition in the legislature. He said that these mistakes have been corrected. However, with just over 80 days before the May 11 general election, the ruling party is yet to present its campaign strategy or identify its Prime Ministerial candidate. The mistakes made for the last elections have also not been made public.
According to Rohee, there is “no word as yet” on who the PPP has selected for the post of Prime Minister. The PPP GS said that the way in which he responds to questions are scientific and as politicians should which may not be to the liking of the media.
He said that the opposition alliance formed on Valentine’s Day after the signing of the Cummings-burg Accord was not what was “creating a tremendous amount of energy” but the elections themselves. “It isn’t the alliance that is energising our people. What is energising our people is the need to get over the experiences we had in the 10th parliament where all of our developmental projects were being blocked and where the one seat majority or the uncontrollable horse was let loose on the people of Guyana,” he asserted.
The party is heavily reliant on the notion that the public is not keen to return to a Parliamentary situation where many projects have been questioned and funds withheld by the opposition such as the Speciality Hospital, the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project and the Cheddi Jagan International Airport expansion.
Meantime, Rohee declared that the Alliance For Change will be the biggest losers in a two-way fight. The GS’ comments are in keeping with the recent PPP tactic to create a division between the AFC and their supporters. He said that AFC leaders such as Khemraj Ramjattan and Moses Nagamootoo lack clout and having Nagamootoo, a former PPP party member, put up as the Prime Ministerial candidate was cosmetic. He suggested that the AFC disenfranchised its supporters by coalescing with APNU and PPP supporters who had previously left for the AFC are now returning to the PPP in droves.
According to Rohee, by coalescing, the historical voting trends based on race could see a large portion of the AFC’s support returning to the PPP, “I am not predicting that will happen but voters are voters. They are quite intelligent and smart people,” he stated.