– launches ‘Action plan for Guyana’
Whilst the Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) and the Peoples National Congress Reform (PNCR) are still clamoring to identify their Presidential Candidates for the upcoming General Elections, the Alliance for Change (AFC) on Saturday, confident that the early bird catches the worm, launched their campaign and unveiled their, “Action Plan for Guyana.”
Assuring themselves that they AFC will take office this year, Executive Member Sasenarine Singh, an eminent economist who has been trained in the UK and works in the US, detailed some highlights of the party’s action plan, which he said is aimed at creating jobs, curbing crime and corruption, and have the Private Sector drive the growth of the economy.
He told the packed conference room at the Ocean View International Centre that a team of experts from across the globe with an interest in seeing the rapid transformation of Guyana, worked tirelessly on preparing the document, which he described as sound.
Singh said that the technical experts have crunched the numbers and they are confident that within the first year of the AFC in office they will reduce the Value Added Tax to 12 per cent, whilst slamming the defence of the tax by Prime Minister Samuel Hinds in the National Assembly.
He said that the Prime Minister is clearly out of touch with reality.
Singh also told the gathering that in the first year in office, the AFC will increase the income tax threshold to $50, 000 whilst seeking to increase the salaries of workers.
Singh told the gathering that the AFC recognises that in order to transform Guyana there has to be fundamental changes in the manner in which things are currently done here.
He questioned the commitment of the current administration, describing their 18 year rule as one of mismanagement and unwillingness.
The National Executive member in the Diaspora said that the AFC wants to move away from the Communist practices of the current administration and will move to have the Private Sector as the key drivers of the economy.
The AFC, he said, will in the first year in office, reduce non-commercial (manufacturing) corporate tax from 30 per cent to 25 per cent, and to 20 per cent at the end of their first term.
Singh said that this will act as an incentive for the Private Sector to grow and invest thus creating jobs.
He stressed on the gathering that unlike other party manifestos, which just detail promises, his party has prepared and presented an action plan which spells out how they intend to achieve the objectives set out in the plan.
He said too that one critical aspect of the AFC’s plan for the modernising of Guyana would be the establishment of a State Development Bank, the sole purpose of which will be to assist in the development of key sectors in the economy as well as develop new ones, aiding the Private Sector in the process.
He said that in the first year of the AFC in office, the party will commence a national discussion for Constitutional reform and propose amendments for the removal of the Executive Presidency.
This was stressed by several of the key speakers at the event, including the Presidential Candidate Khemraj Ramjattan.
Singh said too that the AFC is keen on having all on board in the development of Guyana and as such there will be the devolution of power through the holding of Local Government Elections, which will empower persons at every level to take part in the transformation of Guyana.
He insisted that the party will commission a technical team to root out corruption and locate all of the hidden monies so that it could be put towards the development of the country, and where persons are found to be corrupt they will be dealt with condignly.
Singh emphasised that the AFC is committed to putting an end to white collar crime in Guyana.
Drugs and Crime
Singh said that there are many overseas based Guyanese who want to come to Guyana and invest but are afraid because of all the bureaucratic red tape and crime, and the drug infestation.
Singh said that in the first month of the AFC in office they will clear the way for and invite the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to set up office in Guyana so that they can assist in ridding the country of the drug scourge and the trafficking, which has caused so many to die.
He said too that the AFC administration will invite the United Kingdom which had pledged to assist Guyana in reforming the Guyana Police Force and will work with them to fix the ills in the organisation.
They will also raise the salaries of members of the Force by at least 20 per cent so that there will be no need to solicit bribes, he said.
Singh posited that it was ludicrous to pay police the current salary and expect them to put their lives on the line and not be corrupt.
He stressed that there needs to be a serious attempt at addressing the crime situation in Guyana, adding that the AFC will implement the three strikes system for serious crimes.
He said that persons found guilty if committing a serious crime three times will be jailed for life.
According to Singh, he read in the PPP’s previous manifesto in which they had promised to set up a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team.
However, this has not happened as yet and according to Singh, the AFC will set up anti-crime units in all divisions and increase the strength of the Police Force significantly.
He said that when one looks to the Diaspora, it is clear to see that Guyanese are talented people and the AFC will invest in proper education so that the country can develop its human resources.
He said that the party will invest in the sciences and engineering so that people can be trained to develop the country.
“People need to be educated in the AFC’s plan for Guyana…a vote for the AFC is a vote for your future,” Singh impressed on the gathering.
Singh insisted that the party was seeking to create an environment where the country will be filled with thousands of entrepreneurs, adding that there must be a more significant focus on the use of the hinterlands, which is perfect for the establishment of large plantation to farms.
He said that it was absolutely ridiculous that Barbados imports pineapples from Thailand and Guyana produces the same commodity at a better quality.
He said that the AFC is looking to put heavy funding into research to drive innovations to create jobs for Guyanese.
Singh said that the administration was praising the gold production levels and price from sales but pointed to the fact that it is raw gold.
“We sell them raw gold and they in turn make it into jewellery and resell for a hundred folds what they got for it.”
He said that Guyana needs to focus more on value added products, adding that the AFC will import if they have to, the skills, and focus more on the export of world class jewellery.
He also documented several other strategies that the party had for Guyana such as the ethanol approach for local consumption as well as export which will reduce Guyana’s fuel bill as well as earn revenue.
This he said will be done using Brazilian technology.
The party also plans to; license private radio stations based on transparent rules and regulations; implement the Freedom of Information Act and Broadcast Act – a signal of its seriousness on the issue of transparency; commission a Group of Forensic Auditors to reduce corruption and white collar crimes and facilitate civilian oversight and implement a Diaspora policy that encourages investment, harnesses their talents and expertise and make re-migration easy and move towards diasporal representation in the National Assembly among others.
Details of the party’s action plan can be found online, at the voteafc.com website, facebook, twitter and youtube.
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