Guyana opposition puts future over past abuses

By Jasminee Sahoye

Presidential candidate for APNU/AFC David Granger told Toronto media he’s committed to the investigation of criminal violence and bringing an end to past abuses, adding their campaign is mainly concerned about the future.

His comments came during a press conference here last Sunday when asked if elected whether their government will investigate past abuses and consider setting up a truth and reconciliation commission.

“I think going back to the past is important in some respect, if people were wronged,” he said.

“Sometimes truth doesn’t bring reconciliation. I’m not saying it mustn’t be but don’t confuse the two. It’s good to know the truth but reconciliation may take a longer time to achieve,” Granger said while sharing the press conference with prime ministerial candidate Moses Nagamootoo.

To Guyanese still troubled by the records of previous People’s National Congress (PNC) governments, Granger said the PNC is one of a six-member coalition which worked well for four years, adding it will continue with the AFC.

“People have nothing to fear. I’ve never killed anyone. I’ve never been involved with any wrongdoing, electorally or otherwise and people who make these accusations know that very well,” he assured.

Granger, who served as a brigadier-general of the Guyana Defence Force under the PNC government, said, “I was a member of the Disciplined Forces Commission. I’m not worried about what people say about my involvement,” noting that his military record is clean.

The ruling PPP government has alleged that Granger and his party will return the country to the “dark days” under the PNC, which led to many Indo-Guyanese fleeing the country.

Adding his voice, Nagamootoo said, “This coalition has decided that we are not going to look at the album of old photographs that would remind us of old misery, we are simply trying to open the new pages and to write a new history for Guyana because we realize that polarization and division in Guyana is what is behind all the other problems that are flowing because we have half of the country (that) would always feel marginalised and left out.”

Prior to the announcement of the coming May 11 election, there was a minority government which led to the president proroguing Parliament, arguing they were hamstrung because the opposition APNU was not supportive.

There has been constant criticism about the level of corruption within the government but Granger said they will not be vindictive should they win.

“This new government is not about jailing people, this is about justice.”

A group of Guyanese Canadians  picketed against APNU/AFC leaders at one of the events in Toronto.

Mani Singh, the group’s spokesperson, said, “We have achieved our goal in bringing awareness of the very questionable and controversial record of Mr. Granger when he was in charge of the GDF Army during the PNC dictatorship; and Mr. Nagamootoo for all the lies and dishonesty that he peddles in his political life.”