As the political parties head into the homestretch this weekend with their campaigning for local government elections, the opposition APNU is accusing the governing PPP of vote buying.
At a press conference today, APNU Member of Parliament Ganesh Mahipaul said while the PPP has been preaching about its popularity across the country, it has been going into communities and offering gifts for votes.
Meanwhile, one of the party’s candidates for Georgetown, Kibwe Copeland raised similar issues.
“If the PPP believes it is so popular, why does it need to bribe, intimidate, and coerce voters? Why does the PPP need to dehumanize Guyanese by threatening to take food out of their mouths and the mouths of the children unless they wear a red T-Shirt, attend PPP meetings and vote for them?”, Copeland questioned.
He also raised the issue of persons taking mobile phones into the voting booth to take photographs of their ballot paper in order to show how they cast their ballot.
Earlier this week, the party raised concern after a candidate for the PPP showcased a ballot paper from the Disciplined Services vote, showing that she and her party had secured the votes of an elector.
The APNU said the Elections Commission needs to look into the issue and ensure persons are not intimidated on local elections day.
“We wish to remind GECOM and the Guyanese people that in democratic societies every ballot is secret, and it is a violation of our people’s right when you coerce government employees and the wider citizenry to take a picture of how he or she voted to ensure people vote for the PPP. We call on GECOM to respect the law and convention and ensure no one is allowed to take his or her phone in the polling booth. Failure to enforce the law will bring the credibility of these elections into question”, he said.
Copeland said as citizens prepare to cast their ballots across the local authority areas, they must realise that the PPP’s plan is to dominate and not to ensure development in their communities.
He said “the PPP has little or no interest in protecting vendors and small businesses. Be reminded that the same day the PPP said it would respect vending; it ruthlessly tore down stalls at Providence. It destroyed stalls last Christmas in GT. The PPP will continue to harass and dislocate vendors to serve the business interests of PPP business cronies. The PPP has no plan to raise the living standard of Guyanese. No plan to raise household income above the poverty line. No plan to create good jobs for youths. No plan to transform the health and education sectors. And no plan to build safe, appealing, and modern towns and communities. These are enough reasons to Vote APNU and reject the PPP”.
The Opposition has also accused the Government of using the distribution of the cash grant for students at this time to coerce parents into voting for the governing party. The APNU said it is strange that the cash grant is being distributed close to the closure of schools for the long August vacation, and not in time for the reopening of the new school year in September.
The PPP has been taking its campaigning into a number of communities and areas considered to be strongholds of the People’s National Congress, which is the main party in the APNU.
A number of PNC members including a former Mayor and a current Councilor have crossed over to the PPP. The APNU is still confident of doing well at Monday’s elections.