Welcomed by thousands in Linden last night, APNU+AFC coalition leader David Granger promised that his administration will empower the people of the region to take their rightful place in the nation after two decades of neglect by the current government.
Lamenting that Linden had been suffocated developmentally by the incumbent PPP/C, Granger promised changes. “For 22 years, the PPP has kept Linden on a life support machine… for 22 years, you have seen your patrimony being eaten away… Linden has talent but why are you poor?” he asked during an address at the coalition’s elections campaign launch and unity rally at the Linden/Georgetown Minibus Park. “You are because the rulers of the power of darkness do not care about you. So, are you going to give these people five more years?” he added.
At the last general elections in 2011, APNU won Region 10, where it polled 11,358 votes, to the PPP/C’s 2,868 and the AFC’s 1,324. The two opposition parties combined for over 80% of the votes cast in the region and Regional Chairman Sharma Solomon said yesterday that the coalition would receive 100% of the votes this time around.
The region, however, had seen a rift between Granger’s PNCR and key Linden members, including Solomon, but it appeared to have been healed last evening.
Granger was holding hands with Solomon as he was welcomed on stage sometime after 7 PM to the shouts of support from attendees, who chanted “Linden President,” “We boy” and “Granger for Linden,” among other things.
A smiling Granger later told Lindeners to expect jobs for their youths, access to university education right in their hometown, lights for the Linden-Soesdyke Highway and the speedy completion of the Linden to Lethem Road, among other developments, when the coalition is elected into office at the upcoming May 11th general elections.
Noticeably in the background was controversial Regional Coordinator for the PNCR and APNU Sandra Adams, who was not mentioned when key executives were acknowledged at the rally. Adams sat behind former PNCR leader Robert Corbin, who was in the front row with Solomon, Basil Williams, Vanessa Kissoon and Dr Rupert Roopnaraine on the eastern side of the stage.
The Prime Ministerial candidate for the coalition, Moses Nagamootoo, also received a warm welcome from the crowd, which he worked into a frenzy with a commanding address that took jabs at former President Bharrat Jagdeo over his recent admonitions to his successor to give the opposition some kicks up their asses. “I want to tell the ass kicker that he needs pampers for his mouth… the people in this country needs to kick his…,” Nagamootoo said, as he paused and let the crowd complete his sentence.
During his address, Granger blasted Junior Minister of Finance Juan Edghill, who has been campaigning heavily in Linden. Granger charged that Edghill wanted the country to always be dependent on hand outs from government while neglecting policies that would empower the people to develop on their own. “He is walking around Linden like a Bohemian tourist. Linden, we can’t take it no more. We can’t take the deception, the discrimination. We can’t take the dependency, because they want us to beg for everything,” he stated.
According to Granger, Region 10 is “the real gateway to the hinterlands” and also has key connections with several administrative regions. “You are well connected and that is why they are putting pressure on you. That is why you need an APNU administration that is going to give you your rightful place in this country. Linden, you deserve it and your children deserve it,” he
‘We cannot be silenced’
Pointing to the death of activist Courtney Crum-Ewing, who was executed in Diamond, East Bank Demerara last Tuesday night as he urged persons to exercise their vote, Granger reminded Linden of the three protestors who were killed in the town in 2012 and he said both acts had the same motive—to silence the people of the country from speaking out against ills.
“We wrestle against a dangerous PPP. We wrestle against the ‘Phantom Squad.’ Bharrat is back and the ‘Phantom Squad’ is back… Do not let anymore brothers or sisters fall to the PPP government,” he told the crowd.
During his trial in the United States, convicted drug trafficker Shaheed Roger Khan who is now serving a 15 year sentence in the United States, was revealed to be instrumental in the operations of the “Phantom Squad.” It was said to be responsible for “at least 200 extra-judicial killings from 2002 to 2006 in Guyana. Khan had also claimed that he helped authorities in crime-fighting.
During his address to the rally, Solomon also referred to Crum-Ewing, saying that the unity he spoke out for was the reason for his untimely demise. “This unity is creating fear and already we witness fear fuelling racial aggression and racist campaign speeches seeking to invoke racial demons to divide us. The voice of Courtney Crum-Ewing has been silenced in a brutal gunning down. We cast no blame but it is more than instructive that he was a fierce anti-government activist…,” Solomon added.
“We are all Courtney Crum-Ewing and we cannot be silenced!” he further stressed.
Solomon also noted that for the campaign to be launched in the mining town was demonstrative to the rest of the country that although faced with trials, the community can rise above issues and show inclusiveness and unity.
“Brothers and sisters, clearly the evidence shows that unity is at the heart of our people but forces inimical to our interest keep preventing us from deepening those bonds and coming together and in doing so they act contrary to building a nation. For a house divided cannot stand,” Solomon said.
It is with unity in mind, he said, that Lindeners will show with their votes that they believe in a coalition government come May 11th.
The coalition has planned five other national unity rallies before the polls.