The main opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Monday (Dec. 30) dismissed as “fake news” media advertisements questioning the qualifications of its presidential candidate, Irfaan Ali, and promised to conduct a campaign for the March 2, 2020, regional and general election, free of gutter politics.
Both Ali and the party’s general secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo, told a news conference that there would be no negative campaigning ahead of the election.
“I am not into negative campaigning. I have a positive outlook about our country, I have a positive outlook about this campaign and I am not going to burden myself with negativity”, Ali told reporters as he kept close to the party’s plans for Guyana should it win the next general election.
Full-page newspaper advertisements have surfaced in the local media in recent days by a group calling itself Committee to Save the PPP, that has been promoting a call for former attorney general Anil Nandlall and Dr Frank Anthony to replace Ali, a former housing minister.
“I have a duty to every single Guyanese to ensure that I do my best in their interest and in the interest of this country…and that is the only thing I am interested in and pursuing”— PPP/C presidential candidate Irfaan Ali
But Ali, has sought to dismiss the questions regarding his suitability for the top political position in Guyana, telling reporters that “the leadership of this party has placed responsibility in me, they have placed confidence in me and I have a duty to every single Guyanese to ensure that I do my best in their interest and in the interest of this country in bringing our people together, in bringing development, in bringing growth and creating a better life for every single Guyanese and that is the only thing I am interested in and pursuing”.
Jagdeo said the advertisement questioning Ali’s suitability is nothing but “fake news” as Ali maintained that the matter was now a closed chapter.
Ali was critical of the coalition government’s handling of the agricultural sector telling reporters that when the various sugar estates were closed by the David Granger administration it was followed by increased taxes and fees.
“We saw increases in drainage fees, we saw increases in land taxes (and) all of this is that the input costs and the cost of production in the agricultural sector is just too high, it is not sustainable and it is not profitable for our farmers,” Ali said.
He said the poultry sector was also severely affected by the government’s policies with as many as 6,000 people unable to maintain a living from the industry.