AFC hoping for significant wins in Whim, other places
The Alliance for Change is hoping that its faith in the electorate and the track record of its “fit and proppa” candidates will carry the party to significant wins in all of the 38 areas it is fielding candidates for Monday’s Local Government Election.
Speaking at a press conference at the party headquarters, Chairman Khemraj Ramjattan explained that the same hope with which he and others formed the party in 2005 is what convinces him they will win area such as Whim – where AFC elder statesman and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo hails from - and Linden.
“I believe it is achievable. It is that hope which created the Alliance for Change. We did our work and we hoped for the best and we got five seats…then we got seven seats and now the PPP/C is in opposition and they vex bad when we go to places like Whim,” he stressed. The party is set to return to Whim for a rally tomorrow.
In 2016, the AFC contested local government elections in alliance with APNU. This year, the two governing coalition partners have gone their separate ways.
Ramjattan and General Secretary Marlon Williams explained that the party has received nothing but positive responses during community visits.
“We have gone across Guyana… have walked the length and breadth of Guyana and our reception has been amazing…people are always excited about the AFC so we are jolly… we are going into this elections hopeful and we expect a good outcome,” Williams said in response to a question from Stabroek News.
Ramjattan was more cautious in his response noting that the party hopes that the enthusiastic response received during field campaigns are actual “positive votes” for the AFC.
They drew attention to areas such as Linden, Georgetown, New Amsterdam, Whim and Corriverton where other parties felt they held “transport” and stressed that they have been able to field not just a Proportional Representation List but also full First Past the Post lists.
“We feel that the work we have done over the years with these people: talking to them; addressing their issue that we at a ministerial level can, have created in the minds of a lot of people in strongholds of other parties that we are positive and that we can do well and I am hoping that that sentiment expressed when we go there will be converted into votes,” he noted.
According to Ramjattan if the party carries the right messaging they are confident that reason will prevail over emotion.
Part of that messaging is the candidates selected which the party describes as fit and proper.
“We went to look for truly fit and proper people… Guyanese living in their constituencies that are already participating in community oriented developmental work,” Williams said, noting that with each cycle of local government the system will improve.
“An entire generation was not schooled in local government if (this) continued (after 1994) we would’ve been better off for it,” Ramjattan stressed, positing that the previous administration failed to hold regular LGEs because it would foster social cohesion at a community level.
“People merge better on the ground,” he explained adding that by eating together, partying together, worshipping together and governing together persons learn how to positively deal with difference.
In the absence of LGEs, citizens’ only interaction with government is at the level of general elections “when there is massive division along ethnic lines” the Minister said.
He further went on to note that with consistent local government elections a generation will know how to govern themselves, how to manage a budget ad how to use funds for community development and in time understand the importance of the local government system.
Once this understanding is in place, Ramjattan posits that the current malaise and apathy will drift away.