Georgetown, GINA, Media Release
President Donald Ramotar has dismissed claims that his party practices racism, stating that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has always been a national party and will continue in the same vein.
The Head of State, speaking during an interview at the Office of the President today, noted that every programme and policy crafted under the administration from its foundation has reflected that it is a party that seeks to serve all Guyanese, irrespective of race or political affiliation.
The President noted that the suggestions which are being peddled by the opposition are their only strategy to deflect attention away from their tarnished track record.
“The opposition parties like to say that they are different and they are not into race, but the fact that (Moses) Nagamootoo can say that he will deliver 11 percent of Indian votes to (David) Granger to the APNU clearly shows that they have ethnic counting in their political calculations.”
President Ramotar said that while the parties talk one thing, they practice something else and this was evident during the last election campaign.
“It is very clear that the opposition is not getting the kind of traction that they wanted to get from their coalition, they are in fact losing grounds, and they don’t have any record to compare to ours. Their 28 years in government that they don’t like to talk about was characterised by the deterioration of the… economy of our country.”
However, the President noted that he has every confidence in the electorate that they will see through the comments being uttered by the opposition as the progress in the entire country speaks for itself. He added that the opposition could never substantiate their claims that the incumbent government practices racism as their policies are wide spread and far reaching.
“I will say that the PPP was founded as a national party and it has remained a national party since then it has never had any programme or policy that favours one race at the expense of another.”
The president however pointed out that there are programmes that seek to give some priority to the native Amerindian communities which were left back by colonialism and by the last PNC regime.
“…In order to help them to catch up with the same level of the state, a lot more investments and attention are being paid in those areas, but there is no policy that you can identify that the PPP has any policy in race and also in practices.”
Speaking from a historical standpoint, President Ramotar recalled that during 1961 to 1964 there was quite a bit of racial clashes in Guyana and even in the face of such, the PPP came out in the fight against racism.
“In fact the party had a minor split after the 1964 election because there was a body of views of some people that the party should continue to fight against the PNC regime that had taken a line with colonialism.”
However, the late Dr. Cheddi Jagan had concluded by then that the independent struggle had deteriorated into racial clashes, and if the party had taken that path, it would have been much more difficult to bring back racial and national unity in society.
“And it is reflected in his writing in 1965. Weeks after he came out of government, he wrote an article to the PPP supporters in which he condemned racism completely and which he pointed out that anyone who practices racism it is not only an enemy of the country, but an enemy to themselves.”
This point was later reiterated in another article published in April of the same year in The Thunder as he wrote forcefully against racism.
“That is the party I came from, and that is the party I have been General Secretary for 16 years; that is the tradition I follow and the direction we follow as a national party, one for all the people of Guyana fighting for the betterment of working people and living standard within our society.”