The Lusignan Market Square on the East Coast of Demerara was transformed into a sea of red and black as the People’s Progressive Party hosted its final rally for the 2020 campaign on Saturday evening.
Before a large gathering of party supporters, the PPP Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali laid out his final pitch to voters before Monday’s elections.
Wearing a red shirt-jack and standing in front of a screen with a waving national flag, Mr. Ali said the campaign experience has been humbling for him and he is now ready to move the country forward.
“I stand here humbled by the confidence the leadership of the PPP placed in me. I stand here humbled by the work so many of our comrades have been doing over the last month to ensure we protect the rights, to ensure we protect the only weapon you have in a democracy, and that is your vote”, Ali said.
He told the cheering supporters that the time has come to “fix things” in Guyana saying that the task will be his to build a Guyana for every Guyanese after Monday’s elections.
“We will return dignity, honour and pride to Guyana”, Ali said, as he accused the incumbent APNU+AFC coalition of failing in government over the past four and a half years. He said his party, the PPP, has found itself struggling for every Guyanese during the past four and a half years and that struggle has also been for supporters of other parties.
“Let me assure every single supporter of the APNU+AFC, after March the 2nd , you need not worry because the struggles of the PPP and its supporters is not for themselves, it is for every single Guyanese and you will be welcomed as we move Guyana forward”, the Presidential Candidate said.
He said Guyanese are now worst off than ever before and a government under his watch will bring 50,000 jobs that will benefit the unemployed. While not revealing how those 50,000 jobs will be created, Mr. Ali said the lines for those jobs will not just have supporters of his party, but will also have supporters of the coalition and the other parties.
“We have a role to fix what they took away from our brothers and sisters”, Ali said as he made reference to the sugar industry and the jobs that were lost in the industry.
He said the PPP will be putting money back into the pockets of Guyanese as it “fixes things” across Guyana.
While urging Guyanese to “be true to your conscience” as they head to the polls on Monday, Ali who continues to be dogged with questions about the authenticity of his qualifications said he is the best option to move Guyana forward and the 2020 campaign is not about race or ethnicity, but it is about moving the country forward.
This is not about race and this is not about ethnicity. This is about our future and our country…this is about a better Guyana”, the Candidate said.
He offered thanks to the members of his party for their work on the campaign trail and singled out the party’s General Secretary, former President Bharrat Jagdeo, who he said all Guyana should be proud of because he has “given his all” for the country.
Ali has made it clear that any government under him will have the former President in a key position. Mr. Jagdeo has appeared in more tv interviews and press conferences than the Presidential Candidate and the Prime Ministerial Candidate combined and his imaged has been fixed alongside theirs in all of the campaign’s advertising material.
Jagdeo also spoke at the closing rally just before Ali.
The PPP’s Prime Ministerial Candidate retired Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Mark Phillips in a speech before Mr Jagdeo, called on Guyanese to put the PPP back into power. The PPP spent 23 years in office before it lost the 2015 elections.
Phillips who was appointed Chief of Staff in 2013 and retired in 2016 after almost 40 years in the army, said he is ready to serve again and he believes his service will be best under the PPP.
The PPP’s closing rally also featured speeches from a number of other candidates including some first-time candidates for the party who joined in the party’s leaders in rallying the large crowd to give the PPP another chance to govern Guyana.