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Unity talk

Ricky Jordan

Unity talk

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GEORGETOWN – THE PEOPLE OF GUYANA have been asked to hold onto a life of unity that is colour-blind and religion-blind, and march forward into freedom and prosperity with the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) in today’s election.
President Bharrat Jagdeo, in his final speech as president on the PPP’s platform, gave his people this pledge at the party’s unity concert and rally that packed over 15 000 supporters into the National Stadium last Saturday night.
The six-hour event that featured religious leaders and a range of entertainers – led by Trinidad and Tobago soca queen Destra and international Guyanese artiste KI – was the biggest of the last-lap 2011 election rallies staged by the three main political parties and fittingly ended with platform pep talks by presidential candidate Donald Ramotar.
Jagdeo, who is prevented by the constitution from seeking a third term in office, told the crowd of mainly young Guyanese that they had travelled with the PPP on a tough journey from colonial rule and dictatorship to freedom, whose value they should never underestimate.
“You know how much blood was shed on that journey to win freedom in this land,” he said. “You have been on the journey where the economy has moved from insolvency to a state of viability; you have lived through the hardships and you know them better than me. [We’ve gone] from a GUY$300 million economy to a GUY$2.5 billion economy today.”
In a speech that sought to show the five per cent growth in the economy under his watch, Jagdeo reminded of the days when there were no drugs in the hospitals and “when health care was atrocious to the day when we have some of the best health care in this region. And still we aspire to greater heights”.
He also recalled that back then, blackouts were the norm “for weeks on end . . . but we have stabilized the system” and added that Guyanese had also come from an era when many roads were impassable and few people owned homes to a stage where many now owned house lots.
According to Jagdeo, Guyana’s dream included poverty reduction, doubling the country’s income in a few years, eliminating unemployment and providing world-class health care and the best in education and computer literacy.
“This is the dream of Guyana and you are part of that dream. Young people, don’t be fooled by glitz, good words and false promises because those parties never had a track record of concern for anyone,” he said, recalling the days of post-election violence.
Accusing the People’s National Congress – which has been reformed into the coalition entity
A Partnership For National Unity, the outgoing president said there was no longer a place for violence in the expansive South American CARICOM member state.
“GECOM [Guyana Electoral Commission] is ready for a good poll . . . . The security forces have been in training and are deployed and anyone who tries to harm people because of who they vote for will be dealt with in the way they should be. We have to make sure that those who preach violence and racism are thrown into the dustbin of history.
“We are colour-blind and religion-blind when it comes to our people and the development of our country. We are not a party of the past or even the present, we are a party of the future,” stated the 47-year-old leader who, on Saturday night, took on the role of elder statesman as he paved the way for 61-year-old economist Ramotar.