Protesting Barticians yesterday said that they will continue to agitate against the re-election of Gordon Bradford as Chairman of Region 7 but government sources say that it is just a few persons who are protesting and one should question their motive.
“We will stand up for democracy, we were promised this. Re-appointing Gordon Bradford as chairman is not democracy and they should reverse it,” one resident said yesterday.
Bradford would have to be nominated at tomorrow’s regional council elections in Region Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni) and once the governing coalition is in his corner he would likely be elected as Chairman.
On Friday, a few residents from the ‘gateway to the interior’ came out to protest after they were informed that Bradford would be reappointed to the position in which he has served for the past three years and five years before that. They had said that Bradford underperformed and the business community agreed to support the coalition’s campaign after they were given the understanding that he would not be reappointed as Regional Chairman.
When asked about this issue, Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan had said that he was unaware of any dissatisfaction by citizens as it relates to Bradford retaining his position.
Bradford is expected to be sworn in tomorrow when the Regional Democratic Councils are expected to be reconstituted. For his part, the former regional chairman defended his performance and pointed out that just a few persons are protesting and Bartica does not represent Region 7 as there are a number of communities whose residents are unable to weigh in on the issue.
He had also said that he served as either campaign or deputy campaign manager in the region and his party has never lost the region.
One resident yesterday pointed out that just a few persons make up a government that represents an entire country but they have the support of many persons who prefer not to be in the forefront. A call-in programme held on Friday night, according to one resident, saw many persons calling in and only two expressed support for Bradford.
The protest continued on Saturday and residents are expected to be out on the streets again today as they said that they are not going to give up. While they have not heard anything from the governing coalition, the residents are hopeful that they would be listened to as they would have spoken with the people and they do not want Bradford. While they are being labelled as non-supporters of the APNU+AFC government, one woman, in tears, told Stabroek News yesterday that she worked for years for the PNC – the main constituent of APNU – and supports the government but Bradford should not be forced on the region.
“It is gross disrespect and we are not going to accept this, we know how much we suffer under the PPP and now you have to fight with your own people to ensure that the will of the people and democracy lives,” another resident lamented.
While the protestors say that Bradford did not perform, a government source pointed out that any regional chairman in an opposition-won region, would have been unable to perform under the previous administration which ensured that it was the regional executive officers who controlled things. The source pointed out that it would not be in the interest of the government to appoint anyone who will not perform and if Bradford does not perform, then he would be removed.
“If he cannot measure up, he would not remain as chairman,” the source said while pointing out that President David Granger has already indicated that by next April, Bartica would be made a town. “We cannot afford to have square pegs…” the source said.