The governing APNU+AFC Coalition packed Durban Park in Georgetown on Saturday night as it wrapped up its rallies across the nation ahead of Monday’s elections.
From early afternoon, party supporters streamed into the park as the coalition unveiled its case to be re-elected.
Before the large jubilant crowd, incumbent President and Presidential Candidate for the Coalition, David Granger said the APNU+AFC has put Guyana on the right track moving forward over the past four and a half years and the coalition of six parties should be re-elected to continue the progress made.
He spoke about upholding democratic principles and ensuring the return of Local Government Elections after an absence of 20 years under the previous government. He said his government has returned power to the people and their communities and has created new towns that are being transformed daily.
President Granger said on Monday when Guyanese head to the polls, they will be choosing between himself and the PPP’s Irfaan Ali.
It is a choice, he said, between choosing “a real President and a real estate agent”. He said Guyana should not vote for a “proxy President”, but rather give him and his coalition the opportunity to continue its work in government.
“Elections will be about clean records and not about anybody with 19 charges. Elections on Monday, the 2nd March will be between David and Irfaan. Make your choice”, Granger told the crowd, as they shouted his name in response.
The President said when he took office in 2015, he met a country that was in shambles and he has managed to turn that around and put the country on the right path towards development.
He said that development will be expanded under his decade of development as oil revenues pour in.
Guyana is now an oil-producing nation and this year the economy is slated to see unprecedented growth as oil revenues are earned. Already, three million barrels of oil have been shipped out of Guyana in the past month to the international market.
Mr. Granger said the proceeds from the oil sector “will be for every Guyanese” and not the pockets of anyone.
“I want Guyanese to be richer”, Granger said, while adding that “the profits from our petroleum industry will give you and you and you a good life”.
According to the President, the coalition is the better party to ensure the benefits from the petroleum sector benefits everyone. He said the PPP should not be entrusted and cannot be trusted with managing the sector.
“The PPP bruk up sugar and must not be allowed to bruk up oil”, Granger said as he noted that his government has started the restructuring of the sugar industry.
The Granger administration has come under criticism from the Opposition for its decision to close some of the sugar estates over the past few years, resulting in a number of sugar workers losing their jobs.
But at Saturday’s rally, Granger reminded that it was the PPP that shut down several estates under its watch and “mismanaged” the sugar sector resulting in its state today.
He said old sugar lands will be redeveloped and those former sugar workers will get the opportunity to use those lands along with other Guyanese to develop for other agricultural purposes.
Granger said he is the “man with a plan” for Guyana and his vision for Guyana is one that will see a more developed and educated nation.
The President said women and children are a major part of his vision and that vision will see “every mother with a roof over her head”. He said in his first term in office, his government has put systems in place that are already benefiting mothers and assisting them in getting their children to school as they develop themselves.
“We are going to ensure that every Guyanese child has access to universal primary and secondary education and gain access to the University of Guyana”, Mr. Granger said.
President Granger said a new APNU+AFC government will also continue to focus on youth empowerment, noting that “young people have to take over this country and we have to prepare them to lead this country”.
He said in its first term, the coalition has been empowering young people with grants and loans to start businesses and that will continue.
A number of programmes and initiatives, he said, will be implemented to support the advancement of youths across the country and in every community.
He said his plan for Guyana encompasses human development and public servants will benefit from that plan, noting that they will continue to see increased salaries and a reduction in the cost of living.
Mr Granger also said his plan will ensure a safer Guyana. He said the government under his watch will “continue to make communities safer”. He pointed to the decline in piracy attacks on fisherfolks, noting that they now feel safe with the Coast Guard and the Air Corps of the Guyana Defence Force doing more monitoring.
According to Mr Granger, the PPP and former President Bharrat Jagdeo oversaw “a decade of decadence and death” with killing squads, assassinations and massacres and Guyana must never return to those days.
“Many of you know of the decade of death under Jagdeo…How can he face the Guyanese people…We must not let the persons behind those troubles get back into office”, President Granger said.
The President said moving forward, an APNU+AFC government will continue to be “one of cooperation and not confrontation”, as he noted that development is assured under his administration.
“2020 is the year when the decade has started, March is the month and the 2nd is the day. But now is the hour when you will decide whether it will be David or Irfaan…now you must decide whether you want a real President or a real estate agent”, Granger told the rally.
He said Guyana “got it right in 2015. Make sure you vote right on Monday”.
The coalition’s Prime Ministerial Candidate, Khemraj Ramjattan also spoke at the rally and said the country is on the right track and citizens must not stop the progress. He spoke about the coalition’s work on governance and economic development and the restoration of confidence in security.
He said the infrastructural development that has taken place across Guyana over the past four and a half years has touched every community and citizens across the country are beneficiaries, from the city to the hinterland.
There were a number of other speakers at the rally which ended with some of the candidates joining their hands on stage as they urged the re-election of President David Granger and the APNU+AFC government.