THE DAWNING OF A NEW DAY IS UPON US
By Khemraj Ramjattan
Fellow Guyanese, I am filled with anticipation and immense excitement. The dawning of a new day is upon us.
After 45 years of domination by two parties, and their callous abuse of power, one disenfranchising half of Guyana and the other now marginalising the other half, it is time we replace both with a Government of humility and compassion which is concerned about you, and not about enriching Ministers and their families and friends.
These two old warring parties, by your votes, must now step aside and let the new generation carry the flag.
As we travelled across the country bringing you the plans and programmes of the AFC, we also listened to you. Many of you have told us that you have felt the pain of empty promises, which directly impacted your pockets, and your plates.
This has happened as a result of bad governance and corruption and indecency, especially under the Jagdeo PPP Administration. It has caused an astronomical enrichment of an elite few and a massive impoverishment of the many. We today have a poverty rate of 35%, and unemployment at over 20%. Migration of our best and brightest is at 89%.
We must wake up and open our eyes and minds to the pompous and cunning exploitation of our people and rightfully reclaim our freedom and hopes for a better future for those left behind. Yes! We can ALL realize our dreams and ambitions right here in this vast, rich and beautiful country we call home. Why should it only serve to enrich a select few through deceitful and unscrupulous manipulation?
Our accusations of shameless corruption and self-aggrandizing by people in positions of power are not mere stories or baseless rhetoric. The evidence is there for all to see in the posh and lavish enclaves we call Pradovilles; and, the way they arrogantly flaunt their power and privileges.
We cannot simply stand by and continue to be brow-beaten, intimidated and terrorized into submission by these Sultans who masquerade as political Saviours.
Following tomorrow’s elections, Guyana will be under an Alliance For Change government which will serve you, the people of our dear country, with compassion, dignity, integrity and respect.
The AFC has presented to you an Action Plan for a better Guyana. It lays out what the AFC will do to create a New Guyana. It substantially must do with reforming the economy and the politics of this land. And there are certain priorities in our first term in office.
• We will ease the burden of the 16%VAT, reducing it to 12%, with further reductions to come when possible.
• We will remove taxes for those of you who earn up to $50,000 per month.
• We will increase salaries for public servants, police, the armed forces, teachers and nurses by 20%.
• We will pass legislation to ensure a liveable minimum wage so that you can earn a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.
• We will start to take better care of our poor and disadvantaged neighbours by providing transportation for their children to get to school and meals for them while they are in school so that they can better themselves and lift up their lives and lift those around them out of poverty.
• We will create up to 15,000 new jobs in our first term.
• And, for our senior citizens, we will double your pension, so you can live with more comfort and dignity.
You have my commitment that an AFC government will repeal the legislation that gives President Jagdeo the obscene pension of three million dollars a month. The line was crossed with that repulsive display of raw and outrageous greed, and we will not allow that abuse.
But to rebuild Guyana requires an effort from all of us: -
We must move away from a culture of greed, lawlessness and crime to one in which we are safe and secure.
We must move away from a culture of widespread corruption and mismanagement, to one of decency and competency.
We must end this emotional and physical violence that has engulfed our country and is suffocating our people.
We must remove racism and discrimination from our hearts and from within our families and communities and our country forever.
Mahatma Gandhi described these roots of violence as
“Wealth without work,
Pleasure without conscience,
Knowledge without character,
Commerce without morality,
Science without humanity,
Worship without sacrifice,
Politics without principles.”
You will recognize, as I do, that these characteristics are becoming more and more prevalent in our society in Guyana. It started at the top and is finding its way across our society, and reaching into the home and family.
It will infect and hamper your children and mine, unless we come together and stop it.
It is time to emancipate Guyana from this oppressive regime. It is time to change.
We in the AFC have assembled, on your behalf, a team of bright and competent professionals and workers from in and out of Guyana, young and experienced, men and women, of all races and religions who have the best interest of Guyanese at heart
With their expertise and experience, we will harness our vast resources, and energize, enable and reward you – our hard working people.
We have no interest in public vulgarity, pettiness and discrimination. We will serve you as any decent government must serve its people.
The AFC is the only true party of unity and which reflects in its diversity the beauty and wealth of Guyana. It is the only choice for a better Guyana.
This power to change is yours, and yours only. Use it fearlessly and use it wisely. Of course that will mean voting for the AFC and the KEY!
I want to leave with you the words of Nelson Mandela who said, “Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great, you can be that generation.”
Let this generation be called Guyana’s greatest! Let us like peoples all over the world find new courage to rid this land of so much corruption, repression, hunger, fear and racism …with peaceful action.
It is our time to do the same in Guyana. It is time for new beginnings as we close 2011. Let us make 2012 the year of Guyana’s rebirth by voting to change course with the AFC.
Yes, we are better than what we presently have! Yes, my Fellow Guyanese, we are better than this!
God bless us all.