AFC – mere pawns to the PNC

Weekend Mirror - - EDITORIAL -

Dear Ed­i­tor,


Shake­speare’s ‘Julius Cae­sar’, Cas­sius, a no­ble­man, in the in­ter­est of his coun­try ad­vised his friend Bru­tus that, ‘The fault, dear Bru­tus, is not in our stars, but in our­selves.’ Para­phras­ing this in the con­text of the AFC , the fault is not in the Cum­mings­burg Ac­cord but in the in­abil­ity of the AFC lead­ers to act in the in­ter­ests of its mem­bers and sup­port­ers by pro­mot­ing the poli­cies and fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples which they have so glo­ri­ously ex­pounded in their Ac­tion Plan 2011. I was a mem­ber then.

How­ever, the AFC mem­bers and sup­port­ers, at least some of them, were will­ing to for­give and for­get what was said of both the PPP and the PNC by co-founders of the Party, Messrs Ram­jat­tan and Trot­man. Ram­jat­tan had said that ‘over four decades of PNC and PPP Gov­ern­ments have left us bruised, weary and hope­less’ while his coun­ter­part, Trot­man had said in his own inim­itable style that, ’For 45 years Guyana has had the same par­ties mak­ing turns in the wrong di­rec­tions, dis­ap­point­ing and be­tray­ing its cit­i­zens…’. But alas! Af­ter just over two years the AFC has made nu­mer­ous ‘wrong turns’, with the GECOM uni­lat­eral ap­point­ment mak­ing it clear that the party has be­come a docile ‘bride’ in the PNC’s harem.

The AFC lead­ers have de­vi­ated so far from their man­i­festo that it is dif­fi­cult to dis­cern their orig­i­nal iden­tity. They have been con­sumed and have be­come mere pawns to the PNC dom­i­nated Gov­ern­ment. Their min­i­mal in­put has been rel­e­gated to agree­ing or dis­agree­ing as the need arises. When one reads the state­ments in the Ac­tion Plan writ­ten by Messrs Ram­jat­tan and Trot­man it leaves one to won­der whether or not those lofty ideals were just win­dow dress­ing to ap­peal to the peo­ple. It would now seem that the AFC lead­ers have had one self-cen­tered goal in mind when they formed the party: get rid of the PPP at all and any cost and ‘en­joy the good life’!

The Cum­mings­burg Ac­cord is only about ‘shar­ing the spoils’ and noth­ing else mat­ters. Even the in­volve­ment of civil so­ci­ety was de­ci­sively ex­cluded. The 60/40 part­ner­ship be­tween APNU and AFC was the crème de la creme. But this was just mere writ­ing. The even­tual ac­quir­ing of a cer­e­mo­nial Prime Min­is­ter and the equally name­sake Vice Pres­i­dents and some min­istries where the even­tual power lies with the Min­is­ter of State, Cabi­net and some re­tired high rank­ing mili­tary of­fi­cers re­flected the most glar­ing im­po­tence of the AFC. It has be­come the mere ac­qui­si­tion of ‘empty of­fices’ which lack the power to make any de­ci­sive de­ci­sions. They just awaited the ‘crumbs’ which fell from their master’s ta­ble.

To­day, there seems to be only one goal, and that is, self-preser­va­tion. It has be­come pel­lu­cid that if they dare to dif­fer they will meet the same fate as was de­liv­ered to the UF by the PNC in 1968. How­ever, the AFC lead­er­ship chap­er­oned by the ex­pe­ri­enced cam­paigner Moses Nag­amootoo, who is adept at dam­age con­trol, is quoted ear­lier this year as say­ing, ‘that af­ter two years in of­fice, things have changed and the AFC is of the be­lief that the time has come for the Cum­mings burg Ac­cord to be rene­go­ti­ated’. On the other hand, ac­cord­ing to WPA’s Tacuma Ogun­s­eye, the Cum­ming­burg Ac­cord is more in favour of the AFC than APNU. He ra­tio­nal­ized this by con­clud­ing that the 10% AFC got 40% of the ‘spoils’ there­fore rene­go­ti­a­tion is out of the ques­tion. In other words, they got a lot more than they de­served.

The AFC is cog­nizant that Ogun­s­eye is cor­rect yet there is now haste to re­view the Ac­cord be­fore ‘Lovers Day’ 2018. This time the call for re­view will, apart from its usual en­dorse­ment of APNU’s de­ci­sions, in­clude some is­sues which will be mere at­tempts to pla­cate their rapidly dwin­dling sup­port base. This is the guile of the AFC lead­er­ship. Now be­ing faced with ex­tinc­tion since their main fi­nan­cial sup­port­ers in the USA and Canada have ex­posed the AFC’s use­less ap­pendage roles to the PNC, they have now once again moved to ‘re­vise’ the Ac­cord.

How­ever, the prob­lem with the AFC is the fact that the lead­ers have lost sight of what they stood for: the fight against cor­rup­tion, mas­sive squan­der­ma­nia, crony­ism and the fight for trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity. All of these have be­come so en­demic in this Gov­ern­ment while the AFC lead­ers are rooted in en­joy­ing the ‘good life’ with their si­lence be­com­ing un­bear­able with each pass­ing day. What im­me­di­ately comes to mind is that the AFC lead­ers are deathly afraid that should they speak out against these ‘wrongs’ they will be un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously kicked out not un­like the UF when they spoke about the cor­rup­tion of the PNC.

But I do have a strong prog­nos­ti­ca­tion that some AFC lead­ers will be bap­tized into the PNC ( it seems some have al­ready done so) to save their sta­tus quo es­pe­cially when Pres­i­dent Granger’s At­lanta speech comes to mind about how power should be re­tained based on the PNC past strate­gies. Has this At­lanta plan been set in mo­tion with the uni­lat­eral ap­point­ment of the GECOM’s Chair­man? Are some AFC lead­ers privy to this plan? Hence the need to save their ma­te­rial gains?

Time will tell as it al­ways does. In con­clu­sion, I have tire­lessly writ­ten about cor­rup­tion, crony­ism, lack of trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity within the AFC and was dubbed a ‘rogue’ coun­cilor but what I never ex­pected is the fact that the big fi­nanciers in the USA and Canada will be called ‘rogue el­e­ments’ when all they did was to stand up for the fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples of the AFC. How­ever, they should seek con­so­la­tion in the fact that they were not told to ‘haul their a$$’!

Yours sin­cerely, Haseef Yusuf

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