The AFC is here to stay!
By Moses Nagamootoo M.P
A major success was the defeat of the notion that a “third party” such as the Alliance For Change (AFC) could not survive in our divisive and polarized political arena. The AFC has not only carved out an indelible niche on the Guyana political landscape, but has become the fastest growing political party as well. The AFC is here to stay!
This is due primarily to three factors: 1. AFC maintains a vibrant and robust voice in the National Assembly; 2. AFC mirrors the image of a genuinely authentic multi-ethnic, multi-class movement with equal appeal in places such as Port Mourant, Linden, Anna Regina, Moruca and in the Marudi Mountains; 3. AFC has become part of the national consciousness that demands that the scourge of corruption should be wiped out from this land. These are no small successes which we share with other political and civic forces that have made the fight for accountability a national concern. AFC has finally bought a building to house its headquarters, and the Centre For Change will soon be part of the our profile of being ready for Government. We maintained a cohesive leadership, in spite of the attempts at character assassination and “cuss-down politics” and our National Executive Committee and Management Committee broke new grounds in meeting outside the Capital. AFC, defying shortage of money, is still able to publish our newspaper, “Key”. Our major failure has been ineffective communication with our members and supporters, and not having sufficient outreach in the riverain and interior communities. AFC’s messaging problem is due primarily to denial of access to the state media (radio, TV and newspaper), all of which have been converted into propaganda outlets of the ruling party. So we will keep our scissors sharpened for any subvention to these state agencies. We have been denied the right of reply to vicious attacks and mis-information by the ruling cabal and have to divert our meagre resources to paying for TV time on private channels. The result is that our rank and file does not get timely information of AFC’s position on national issues resulting, as in the case of our conditional support for the Amaila Hydro project, in a few dropouts from our membership. We have not been successful against the PPP’s propaganda onslaughts, to convince a wider section of our people that AFC’s position on various issues is patriotic, in the national interest, and intended to make our governance clean, honest, transparent and accountable. But, it is satisfying to know that our fight against dirty money via crooked deals and contracts, is gaining ground, which is why there is now broader support for the establishment of a Public Procurement Commission (PPC) to end government’s role in approving or disapproving public sector contracts amounting to billions of dollars. There are several issues that will roll over to 2014, at the top of the agenda being how to get Local Government elections by mid-year so that we can energise the grassroots to be involved in the process of changing their communities. We will continue to track the spending of public funds and may cite senior government officials for corrupt practices, and up the fight to bring all public funds into the State Treasury, like excess monies from NICIL, Wildlife, Lotto, etc., so that they flow to the people and not into the pockets of government cronies. The AFC will also continue to fight for a fully-staffed Financial Intelligence Unit to go after dirty money; Integrity Commission to probe the assets and unjust enrichment of the political elite; broad-based state media board to ensure equitable access; and for a Commission of Inquiry to examine the give-away allocation to friends and family of television, radio and other telecommunications frequencies, as well as state lands and concessions. The AFC is grateful for the goodwill, and even the criticisms, it has received from our people here and abroad, and pledges to uphold high standard of political behaviour, as we follow the road map to change and honest government in Guyana.