– Speak out against wrongdoings, for silence is equivalent to condoning the wrong as well- Ramjattan urges citizens…
By Kiana Wilburg
An intense and passionate feeling for Guyana’s development as well as one of national fervor
manifested itself throughout the Alliance For Change’s (AFC) National Conference which was held yesterday at the St. Stanislaus College on Brickdam.
The event saw representations from almost every ‘nook and cranny’ of the country. Delegates, decked out in the party’s yellow jerseys, heard AFC leaders report on the way forward and on the readiness of the party for General Election. The main theme of the congress was to “fire the People’s Progressive Party (PPP).”
There were presentations by AFC General Secretary, David Patterson and Chairman Nigel Hughes who spoke to the need for Constitutional Change.
But the statements delivered by AFC leader, Khemraj Ramjattan and Moses Nagamootoo really stirred members of the crowd.
Nagamootoo in his welcome remarks said that since 1953, the nation has never had such a vicious attack on its Parliament and even on its democracy as was witnessed when President Donald Ramotar suspended the Parliament for six months on November 10, to avoid facing the party’s No-Confidence Motion.
He invited the attendants to applaud to show their condemnation of the act by the President.
After loud cheers and applause, Nagamootoo said that the government should be considered as not “Because we care,” but “Because we scare.”
Since its aggressive moves after President Ramotar prorogued the Parliament, the AFC Chairman said that his party has proved to the world that even with seven members in the National Assembly, “little scissors could cut big bands and now the Emperor (Ramotar) stands naked to the world.”
He stressed that the party continues to press on with Ramjattan leading the way
from the clutches of the PPP that seems hell bent on dragging the country through the evils of repression and racism.
He boasted that the party has blazed in the trail in exposing abuse of powers and resources by the executive, its deep connection with the criminal underworld and its secret bank accounts.
Highlighting that the AFC’s passion to expose the truth and to strive for the betterment of the people knows no bounds, the lawyer also told his audience that it is grateful for the support of its Opposition colleague, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).
He expressed hope that both will continue to work purposefully towards healing the nation.
Nagamootoo then charged up the crowd as he shouted, “Are you ready for elections?” and the audience responded firmly, “We ready”. This was a chorus that was repeated several times throughout the opening ceremony of the conference.
After singing national songs, the group, Circle of Love, then paved the way for a rousing presentation by AFC Leader, Ramjattan.
He was introduced by the moderator as the fearless, “Haul ya tail” fighter of the people, who has been a Parliamentarian for over 20 years.
He started out with a strong charge. “The AFC is ready to fire the PPP,” he said.
Since the party’s third biennial congress, the lawyer said that he and his team have provided leadership, from the National Assembly, to the bottom houses all across Guyana.
The party, he said, has managed to stir the minds of the people and even those of the detractors.
“We are not a minority but a major political party and have firm roots in the political landscape,” he emphasized.
However, there are saddening realities that the nation must grapple with, Ramjattan expressed.
The MP said that there is a dilemma of massive corruption, inequality, marginalization, malfunctioning institutions and as of late, prorogation.
He said that Guyana is witnessing a generation marked by degeneration as the elitist government continues to dominate with mediocrity.
He said, too, that Guyana is at a crossroad, which he termed, “dysfunction junction” but noted that the AFC will halt this degeneration.
The lawyer reminded those present that the current administration only does “a lot of talking” meanwhile, “they are setting up perks and big pensions and privileges for themselves. They do what they do to give favours to family and friends and we have to ensure we do certain things to cleanse the nation and its institutions so we can start afresh.”
Doing what’s necessary
Ramjattan said that one of the irritants to moving forward is that there is silence in the face of grievances. He stressed that citizens must not be quiet anymore and it is the time to speak out against atrocities.
The AFC is not only about speaking out against wrongdoings but also finding solutions to the problems at hand, Ramjattan told the conference.
Admitting that it is a herculean task, he said that it is a job that requires collective effort.
“Too often we remain silent on the wrongs around us.” He said that silence is equivalent to condoning the atrocity itself and at the individual level, this must be brought to a halt.
At the political level, the AFC leader said that it will continue to expose corruption. Not doing so comes with a cost to the life of the nation.
“And what do we do with corrupt officials?” Ramjattan asked. The crowd yelled, “Jail them.”
The politician said that the party has maintained a watchful eye on officials but the time has come to include a cracking whip. He said too that even when the AFC gets into office and it is by any chance corrupt, the electorate has a responsibility to “crack the whip.”
“You must be fearless and fry the big fish,” he added. This was greeted with much approval and had members shouting, “We will jail the PPP and we will fry them.”
He called on those present to have no self doubt about change being possible. The MP said that the AFC has the capacity to promise Guyana a better future, one where inclusionary democracy rules over politics of fear.
He added that his party is prepared to partner with members of APNU and even those from the PPP who are disenchanted with the work of the party.
“We need better governance hence we are saying, bring on the elections,” the AFC leader concluded.
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