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By Mark DaCosta- On a live stream on social media on June 3, Alliance For Change (AFC) officials – General Secretary Sherod Duncan (host), Leader Khemraj Ramjattan, Deputy General Secretary Juretha Fernandes, and Vice Chairman Ricky Ramsaroop – highlighted numerous examples of mismanagement and misconduct by the ruling People’s Progressive Party (PPP) regime.
On the program Alliance on the Move, the senior AFC members gave tangible reasons why Guyanese should not vote for the PPP in the local government elections (LGE) scheduled for June 12. The officials – who are all members of parliament – addressed the reasons why PPP supporters should stay home on LGE day, and send a message of protest to the ruling party by withholding their votes. During the course of the program, Former Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson appeared, and clarified many of the technical issues surrounding public projects.
The officials addressed examples of government’s massive shortcomings, including the following: rampant corruption in infrastructure projects, and flood relief grants; deliberate mistreatment of squatters; the regime’s failures that resulted in The Mahdia Tragedy and the escape of “Smallie,” among other issues.
Leader Ramjattan said that one major reason for brazen theft of the country’s money by the PPP regime is the fact that the PPP wants to “fill its war chest for the 2025 [general and regional] elections.” He said that while in Berbice, he was told by contractors that the contractors go along with the PPP’s kickbacks schemes because, “we gotta live.” He pointed to expensive, substandard roads built by contractors with no qualifications or experience. Roads and bridges that crumble in a few months.
Speaking of Region 7 as an example of the countrywide problem Former Minister Patterson said, “Considering all the billions of dollars spent by the PPP, I expected better [development].” Referring to crumbling, rough, potholed roads, Patterson said the PPP is building “abortion roads.”
Juretha Fernandes said that, “[the PPP] do not build roads in areas where they don’t have [supporters].”
At that point, Duncan asked, “Where is the one Guyana that the PPP talks about?”
Fernandes pointed out that the Coalition built durable concrete roads that stand sturdy to this day with a budget of only $230 billion. On the other hand, the PPP’s $789.1 billion asphalt roads are falling apart after only a year. “These are bread and butter issues,” she lamented.
Vice Chairman Ramsaroop emphasised that even when the PPP’s favoured contractors fail to meet obligations, there are no consequences; they just keep getting more contracts.
Duncan said, “because they are the PPP’s friends and family.”
Fernandes reminded that, “At the level of parliament, $10 billion was allocated [to flood relief] though the Office of the Prime Minister (PM),” but when the PM was asked about what happened to the money, he couldn’t answer us.
Fernandes said that Indigenous Guyanese got nothing from the program; “all the money went into the pockets of PPP friends and family.”
Mistreatment of squatters
The officials all lamented the recent heartless eviction of squatters at Hill Foot, Linden.
Ramjattan said, “There is a method to the PPP’s madness; the regime [deliberately] wants people to [suffer]”
He explained that the PPP regime wilfully creates problems so that they can come in later and behave like saviours. He said that after the squatters’ homes were demolished, the regime came in to play saviours, and offer the people house lots.
The Mahdia Tragedy
The AFC officials said that Guyanese are traumatised all around; from evicted squatters to the victims of the Mahdia Tragedy. Ramjattan mentioned that a Stabroek News editorial called the charging of a child “troubling. . . she is being made a scapegoat.”
Ramsaroop said, “No [bigger] heads are rolling.” All the ministers still have their jobs after 20 children died at Mahdia.
Duncan mentioned the escape of “Smallie” and the seizure of a phone from a PPP permanent secretary. And the fact that no heads are rolling; no one in the regime is accountable, he said. Ramsaroop said, “[PPP leaders] are the untouchables.