I was in Alexander Village to attend the wake of a friend two evenings ago which coincided with a meeting of the PPP/C held at the head of the street in which I grew up. I dropped in on the meeting at a point at which President Ramotar was speaking. I heard him tell the community which enjoys not a single public space for its hundreds of children to play, about his party’s plans for world class high-tech industrial parks covering hundreds of acres; and a community which for years has endured potholes at both points of entry, of his party’s plans for an international hub for trans-Atlantic airlines to facilitate South African Airways.
He told them of his government’s decision to expend billions on a five star hotel, but not why it deprives the country’s only national university of basic requirements for teaching and learning. And of the building of the Berbice Bridge but not of the discriminatory tolls Berbicians are made to pay. He told them too about all the food items banned by Burnham but not the unbanning by Hoyte. No, such truth would destroy the party line. He told them of what the party has given the country but not that it is taxpayers’ money that the party in government has spent, and as often as not mis-spent. Or worse, what the party officials have taken for themselves and their friends.
He boasted of his party’s democratic credentials but the villagers know that they have been deprived of local democracy since 1997. He boasted too about integrity but did not tell his audience that villagers have been cheated of their investment in New Guyana Company Limited, the party controlled company.
He boasted about procurement but not his party’s failure to establish the Public Procurement Commission for fourteen years.
It was a case of everything good being the PPP while everything bad is the fault of the PNC. And the reason suggested by the President for his party not getting the credit it deserves is because of the Stabroek News, the Kaieteur News for whose publisher he reserved some choice language, and – pointing directly at Gerhard Ramsaroop and me in the audience – those “misguided” individuals who malign the record and character of the PPP.
Many years ago political meetings in Alexander Village used to allow for questions. Not so any more. So at the close of the meeting I approached Mr Ramotar and asked him directly whether he thought verbally targeting individuals in an audience would help him to win over misguided individuals.
He could offer no response.
Alexander Villagers are polite to visitors, even those who visit them only at election time.