AFC hop­ing for sig­nif­i­cant wins in Whim, other places

Stabroek News - - REGIONAL NEWS -

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.

Khem­raj Ram­jat­tan

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