“Tonight, my comrades, you have to win the battle of numbers,” he said. “The problem I face tonight is that twenty-five percent of this region was Absent Without Leave in 2015."
Granger, in his reelection bid, reasoned that an 80- to 85-percent turnout in Region Four would see the return of the APNU+AFC coalition because it is the most populated. “Because four out of every ten Guyanese live in Demerara, if we win this region convincingly, we win the whole election. This is a battlefield region and we have to win the battle right here on the East Coast, right here in Demerara. This is a battle that we must win,” he told a campaign rally of thousands of supporters at the Golden Grove Community Centre ground.
“We won the battle against the phantom, we won the battle against the greatest flood in your lifetime, the flood in 2005, we flood the battle against dividing the villages into red villages and green villages, we won the battle against the troubles between 2000 and 2010. But tonight my comrades, we have to win the battles of numbers."
"You know in 2015, only 75% of the people of this region voted and the coalition only won 61% of that 75%, the PPP won 39%. Can you imagine that, after 23 years of punishment, 39% of the people in this region voted for the PPP. The problem I face tonight is that 25% of the people were absent without leave. ”If I was in the army, I would have court-martialled them but these are my friends,” mused Granger, a retired Brigadier of the Guyana Defence Force.
Granger reminded the thousands of East Coast Demerara residents, of some of the problems they faced under the last PPP Civic government, pointing out that they won those battles when the coalition was elected to power in 2015 and they must win the battles again.
APNU+AFC candidate and Chairman of the People’s National Congress Reform, Volda Lawrence is on record as saying that the coalition was aiming to win 40 of the 65 seats in the National Assembly.
Granger, a former member of the Disciplined Forces Commission and who has written extensively on national security, credited his administration with demobilising the ‘phantom’, a reference to alleged state-sponsored and associated death squads between 2000 and 2010, ending political-racial divisiveness, improving the lives of youths and supporting entrepreneurship.
The President said the coalition government will deliver free education from nursery to university as it was before the PPP went into office in 1992.
He also spoke about programmes that have been put in place to assist young girls and women in their personal and economic development. Mr. Granger also noted that more will be done for the pensioners of Guyana.
“When I entered the 10th Parliament in 2012, pensioners were getting $7,500 and now pensioners are getting over $20,000. If you thank you notes that I get, thank you Mr. President, Do it again”.
Granger turned his attention to former President Bharrat Jagdeo who while not being the PPP’s Presidential Candidate has been leading the PPP’s election charge.
Describing Jagdeo as “the Pharoah”, Granger said “he likes to attack because he has so much to defend. He loves to rant and rave but he does not think before he speaks”.
According Granger, he seems to be the focus of attacks from Jagdeo because Jagdeo thinks he is quiet, “but let me tell you something. Have you ever seen me go into SOCU for interrogation? Or go into the Law Court over the questionable acquisition of land? Have you ever heard about Granger using official Government of Guyana letterhead paper to order espionage equipment to give crooks and bandits? I don’t do that.
If he wants to criticize, let him talk about the people who ordered the spy equipment and the people who are trekking to SOCU and the Magistrates’ Court to face questions about Pradoville,” Granger lamented.
Using the opportunity to respond to criticisms that Jagdeo has made about his age on the campaign trail, the 74-year old Granger fired back: “Why do they criticise my age, I know my age, I don’t hide my age. When he was appointed a Minister, the President who appointed him was older than me. And when he was appointed Prime Minister, the lady who appointed him was older than me. She was 77. So what does he have against old people? He only got where he got because of old people”, Granger said to the roar of the large crowd.
He called on residents not to be distracted by untruths but to focus on ensuring a coalition victory by turning out in their numbers at the polls on Elections day.
(Demerara Waves and News Source contributed to this report)
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