PNC has no gratitude, loyalty to its supporters – PPP General Secretary

– Says Norton small-minded, focused on pettiness not policy-making, national issues

General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo has blasted the leadership of the People’s National Congress (PNC) over what he described as its demonstration of a lack of loyalty for their supporters and those who campaigned on their behalf.

Speaking at the party’s press conference on Thursday at Freedom House, Georgetown, Dr Jagdeo said, “The PNC has no gratitude or loyalty to people who basically …throw their belly out for them.”

General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

For context, the PPP/C held its annual commemoration of the life and work of party co-founders and former late presidents Dr Cheddi Jagan and Mrs Janet Jagan, at Babu Jaan in Berbice, where matters of national unity, the government’s development agenda and addressing the age-old issue of racism were highlighted by party leaders. 

However, Dr Jagdeo pointed out that Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton only chose to hurriedly deny affiliation with Keith Ferrier, who was present at the event, and who worked along with others during the APNU/AFC’s various elections campaigns. The General Secretary explained that the way Ferrier was thrown under the bus by Norton, indicates the party’s unfaithfulness to its supporters, as was done to their polling agents during the March 2, 2020, General and Regional Elections.

He described Norton as ‘small thinking’, ‘petty minded’ and unfit for the leadership role, noting his failure to aptly address policy-making and national development issues.

“Norton is not cut from leadership cloth, you have a whole range of policy-making issues to address and to represent the alternative, and that’s all you are going to talk about…It demonstrated the morose nature of Mr Norton, his vindictiveness, the bitter side he has,” Dr Jagdeo expressed. While addressing claims that the party induces Afro-Guyanese to join its membership, he said this is a racist philosophy, which seeks to polarise the Afro-Guyanese.

He said, “this concept of bribe, and it follows what David Hinds has been saying … Nobody is condemning this because they believe that any Afro-Guyanese who has come to us … they have been brought over either by bribe or induced to come over. This goes to the philosophy of ownership and this is a racist philosophy, that in this country, you can only identify with a group based on race, not on economic interest, not on progress, not on doing better for the country,”

The PPP/C General Secretary reminded that racism was engineered in the late 50s with assistance from local representatives who were and are still part of the PNC party, coupled with three decades of undemocratic racist rulers at the time.  Dr Jagdeo clarified that the Babu Jaan event was not meant to whitewash the history of racism in Guyana but, to actually confront it at all levels.

“We believe the matter is sufficiently serious to warrant the attention of both the President and the General Secretary of our party and that is why we spoke about it. And that is why we attached great importance to national unity and we believe we have to fight racism head-on,” he stated.

To this end, Dr Jagdeo also blasted the non-governmental organisations and civil society bodies who condemned the PPP/C for making commitments to eradicate racism, but chose to stay silent on racist remarks made by members of the Working Peoples Alliance (WPA) at a recent meeting.

“They condemn us for condemning racism and saying we’ll fight racism and WPA had one of the most racist sets of meetings and we didn’t see anything of that nature, the same sort of holier than thou attitude was not displayed there,” he conveyed.

Dr Jagdeo made it clear that his party will not be intimidated by those who seek to create division in Guyana.

He reminded that the PPP/C from its inception, sought national unity and work in the interest of the people.