Democratic rule brought ultimate freedom to Guyana – President at PPP/C’s 21st anniversary celebrations at Lusignan
Georgetown, GINA, October 6, 2013
President Donald Ramotar this evening reminded that with the return of democracy to Guyana by the PPP/C, came the return of accountability in the form of the Auditor General’s Report which was essentially banned under the previous regime.
He was at the time speaking to a large gathering of supporters at the Lusignan Market Tarmac for the celebration of the 21st anniversary of the Return to Democracy.
The President admitted that corruption is an issue that the Government is still battling with, mainly because it was so deeply entrenched in the PNC regime.
He said that when the PPP/C won the 1992 elections, it was one of the most important victories for all Guyanese, as it brought an end to the various forms of oppression that they had to endure.
“Even though it has been 47 years since we became independent, we have only had freedom in the last 21 years in this country…we fought for democracy in Guyana because we believed that we could not have sustained social and economic progress unless we have freedom and freedom is something we cannot put a price on…it cannot be measured, but it is indispensible if we are to go ahead,” President Ramotar stated.
The PPP/C was victorious at the October 1992 polls, the country’s first ever fair and free elections. The Party assumed Office on October 5, 1992 with the late Dr. Cheddi Jagan as the Head of State.
President Ramotar reminded of Walter Rodney and other political leaders who were murdered simply because they opposed the PNC.
“Today these same people are talking about criminalisation of the State when they themselves led a criminal State,” the President said.
He urged Guyanese not to forget the struggles or take for granted the achievements that have been made.
Meanwhile, Former President Bharrat Jagdeo said that one of the disadvantages with being in Office for too long is that people tend to forget their own achievements, and the political Opposition uses that as an opportunity to attempt to rewrite history.
He said that while there is a lot that remains to be done, the PPP/C must be judged on the basis of how it has changed the social and economic landscape of Guyana. He lamented that today, the villains of the past are portrayed as heroes.
The former President spoke of the transformation that the various sectors have seen under the PPP/C administration, particularly as it relates to the public health and education systems.
He reminded that years ago only 35 percent of Guyanese children could go on to attain secondary education because only that amount could have been accommodated in the secondary schools that existed. The lives of the other 65 percent were doomed to failure.
Today, more than 80 percent of children have access to secondary education, including those in the hinterland and the country is fast approaching the attainment of universal secondary education.
Jagdeo reminded too, of the bankrupt state of the country’s economy in 1992, when 94 percent of revenue had to be spent servicing debt. Today, only four percent of revenue goes towards the repayment of debt, which is the lowest in the Caribbean.
PPP/C General Secretary, Clement Rohee said that the Opposition has always been of the misguided view that the PPP/C does not possess the calibre of people to run the country, but the Party has proven them wrong.
“The PPP/C administered the affairs of this country for 21 years through fair and free elections, which is something they never did,” he said.
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds lamented the Opposition’s hand in thwarting the Amaila Falls Hydropower project, which would have catapulted the country’s development ten-fold and urged citizens to be wary of their intentions.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, who chaired the evening’s proceedings, said that it is important to understand from where the country came so as to ensure that it is never returned to that state of depression.
He noted that the progress and transformation that can be seen in every facet of social life cannot be disputed and as such, on this significant milestone Guyanese have many reasons to celebrate.
Education Minister, Priya Manickchand who also spoke at the well-attended event, said that while the country has not yet reached the pinnacle of prosperity, in the 21 years of PPP/C rule, every single Guyanese, regardless of geographic location, race, religion, age or political affiliation, has been touched by some aspect of development.
On Saturday evening the celebrations were held at Tain, Region Six.