Businessman Clinton Urling yesterday publicly threw his support behind the ruling PPP/C saying that it is the party of the future and one with the most qualified persons to run the economic affairs of Guyana even as he brushed aside questions about corruption and mismanagement in the government.
On the day his name appeared on the PPP/C’s list of representatives for the general elections on May 11, Urling dressed in a black suit with a red tie, walked down the streets sandwiched between President Donald Ramotar and the party’s prime ministerial candidate Elisabeth Harper.
Since stepping down as President of Blue CAPS, an organisation he formed and one that has been taking the fight to the PPP/C in an effort have local government elections, it was long believed that Urling was being courted by the political parties. He had previously told Stabroek News that when the political parties begin to campaign and reveal their platforms, it was entirely possible that he might join or endorse one of the two major groups. He had said that should he not be satisfied with the political platforms and there were sufficient rumblings, he was open to forming his own political party.
Packing a punch
“The reason why I chose the PPP, the PPP represents the party of the future. When you look at the list that is being presented here today, you see the number of young people on that list compared to the opposition,” Urling told reporters outside City Hall yesterday minutes before Ramotar presented his party’s list to GECOM officials.
“I have been promised no position and I have no intention of looking for any position, I am here towards the development of Guyana,” Urling responded when asked if he was promised a ministerial position.
Also on the party’s list and a part of the parade was former general secretary of the AFC Sixtus Edwards, who since leaving the AFC has declined to speak to Stabroek News. Former beauty queen Olive Gopaul also made up the parade and when approached and asked if she was on the party’s list, she said she was not sure but in the end her name was not included.
Urling said he feels the PPP has the best set of “people to carry forward the economic agenda, improve people’s economic welfare, both citizen and everyone alike.” He also said the party has more qualified persons to run the economic affairs of Guyana.
“They say democracy is not a spectator sport and at some point of time people always have two choices, you could sit and accept what is happening or you can get in and be a part of the whole policy making machinery of the country,” he said when asked why he joined the party.
Asked whether he was being courted by both the PPP and the APNU+AFC alliance and why he waited to make his decision, Urling instead of answering, said that it is in the past and he would have made that known in previous statements to the media.
“What is important and critical now is that I am with the PPP and I am committed and prepared and work for a long term vision of Guyana,” the part-owner of the German’s Restaurant said.
Asked how he could now support the PPP when as president of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Blue CAPS he had criticized the administration for not holding local government elections and other issues, Urling said in the past, he criticized every “group when I was president of the chamber, and that’s me being objective.”
“I would remain an objective broker in any organisation, in any group even when I was at the Chamber and even with Blue CAPS and even now with the Guyana Football Federation, everybody is not going to believe in everything I believe in, it is my job to convince people to come around to my side of things or to get on the bandwagon of the other side if I am convinced otherwise,” he said.
Further pressed on how he could support the government given the numerous corruption accusations and mismanagement it has faced, an unfazed Urling asked for the evidence even though he was reminded that he would have spoken about these same issues when he was with Blue CAPS.
“Well if you have the evidence and you show me the evidence maybe I might be persuaded to look at it but that’s all based on perception. If there is direct evidence of corruption I think they would have been prosecuted.”
“This is the party for the future, I prefer to look forward and lets look forward to building Guyana from today, my involvement begins now and I look forward to the future,” Urling said when the bungling of the fibre optic project, the debacle with the Amalia Falls hydropower project among others were listed as evidence of mismanagement.
As reporters continued to press him on the issue of corruption, Urling stated that he was unfortunately not the Guyana Police Force and if there is evidence, then the police force is the agency to deal with the issue.
Urling said he is offering the PPP/C his energy and commitment to Guyana and his service. He pointed out that he has been involved in many service-oriented organisations over the past years and he gets in return “the gratification of contributing towards my country’s development.”
“I have led many organisations and people say anything. I can’t stop people’s opinion of me. All I have to do is put in the work necessary to build and grow Guyana,” he said.