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Last night the Burnham Court, at Middle and Carmichael Streets in Georgetown, lit up with throngs of supporters from the main Opposition, dressed in party colours, waving party and national flags, who attentively listened to speeches of their leaders.
Utilising the call and response techniques, leaders were not only able to interact, capture and maintain the attention of supporters, who for months have been calling for “boots on the ground” but also demonstrated they have heard the call.
The A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), along with the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) collaborated in what was billed as a “rally against the high cost of living, corruption, and extra judicial killing” and the speakers did not disappoint.
One after the other they waded into the government for its failure, thus far, to manage the high cost of living, its discriminatory management and distribution of the cash grant and other compensation to citizens, the increasing level of corruption, budgetary spending, and the proposed return to the National Assembly for a supplementary budget.
The government was lambasted for the economic marginalisation of regions and neighbourhood democratic councils won by the Opposition. Instances were cited by the various speakers where communities that support the opposition are being bypassed. The government was also decried for extrajudicial killings that have returned under the Ali government after an absence during the APNU+AFC government.
Leader of the Opposition, Aubrey Norton said for “Guyana to grow, the PPP must go’ which became a chant at intervals, in his speech, to fire up the crowd. Members of Parliament Coretta McDonald and Christopher Jones co-chaired the event and satiated the political appetite of the crowd between speakers. One attendee told Village Voice they were encouraged that the opposition was able to pull off a good meeting. Another said, they are sure the PPP can’t like what they see because it was an impressive rally, while another said it was a good morale booster and look forward to seeing more such events. Norton promised, during his presentation at the rally, that there will be more rallies and protests and they will get larger.
Speaking to the wealth of the country, given its oil and gas revenue, the Opposition said there is no reason citizens should be left on their own to deal with the spiraling cost of living without intervention by the government.
Caribbean countries like Barbados and St. Vincent have implemented policies to offset the cost of living to their citizens by reducing Value Added Taxes (VAT) on electricity, and reduction in essential food items and goods. The Bermuda government recently unveiled a US$15 million economic relief package to help working families hit by rising prices.
An energised and glued crowd was told the Opposition wants a clean Voters’ List and is not prepared to go back to another election until this was achieved. Without exception, all the international observer missions of Guyana’s 2020 General and Regional Elections poured scorn on the bloated Voters’ List urging a cleansing. One speaker said the PPP must never be able to get votes from Le Repentir Cemetery. During the recount exercise it was unearthed that dead people voted and that those votes benefitted the PPP.
The Opposition said it would bring pressure to bear on the installed regime to adhere to inclusive governance, shared governance, and equitable distribution of economic resources. Dr. David Hinds, one of the speakers at the rally, told Village Voice central to that is ensuring the electoral machinery is cleansed and democratised. “And the primary objective should be a new and clean Voters’ List acceptable to all parties, particularly the joint opposition.”