Tuesday, 05 April 2011 14:33
PNCR presidential candidate Brigadier (retd.) David Granger on Tuesday congratulated Donald Ramotar on securing the ruling PPPÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nod to lead them into this yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s general elections and called for a clean campaign in the run up to the polls.
In extending his congratulations in a demwaves.com interview, the opposition candidate, as has been his wont, poked at the PPPÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s selection process which has been seen by some as undemocratic.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“My first reaction is to congratulate him on his election. The PPP did not use the process we did but he emerged victorious in accordance with their procedures and for that I must congratulate him,Ã¢â‚¬Â Granger said.
However, he added that his major concern now is that that they have an election campaign Ã¢â‚¬Å“free from personal abuse and attacks, unlike what we had in March.Ã¢â‚¬Â
GrangerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s comment was a reference to President Bharrat JagdeoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s address to party supporters at Babu John a month ago during which he blasted the PNCR and Granger in particular. At that event Jagdeo had alleged that the former army chief had Ã¢â‚¬Å“blood on his handsÃ¢â‚¬Â in connection with the killing of three PPP supporters by soldiers during the 1973 election period. Granger was not heading the force at that time nor was he present at the incidents.
Additionally, Granger called on Ramotar to use his Ã¢â‚¬Å“political influenceÃ¢â‚¬Â to ensure that the opposition candidates receive equal access to the state media, an issue the opposition has complained about for years. Ã¢â‚¬Å“In previous elections this didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t happen, so I hope he can use his position both as a party leader and presidential candidate so that the other candidates can get their messages across.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The former soldier said he was not worried going up against Ramotar since he believed his party had been making enough inroads among the people.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have had the opportunity during our process to visit all 10 regions and I am convinced our campaign showed people how little development has taken place especially in the hinterlands where even the administrative centers are not developed, Mabaruma for instance,Ã¢â‚¬Â Granger said.
He added that over its 18 years in office the PPP has not done much for the hinterlands and there is Ã¢â‚¬Å“massive unemploymentÃ¢â‚¬Â among the youths in those areas. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The PNC platform is very strong and I believe that we are batting on a good wicket,Ã¢â‚¬Â Granger stated.
Ramotar was elected by consensus on Monday after the other three candidates withdrew from the race at the meeting called to select the person who it is widely believed in some quarters will be the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s next president. The other contenders in the PPP race were Presidential Advisor on Governance Gail Teixeira, Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee and Speaker of the National Assembly Ralph Ramkarran.
Lining up against the two major parties is the AFC with attorney Khemraj Ramjattan as its champion and parliamentarian Sheila Holder as his running mate. The PNCR and the PPP are yet to identify their prime ministerial candidates though Granger has indicated that he would prefer his running mate to be a female.