Recently, several critics have been questioning the relevance and necessity of A Partnership for National
Unity (APNU) and the Alliance for Change (AFC) entering into a pre-election coalition at this time.
However, APNU’s Shadow Minister of Local Government, Ronald Bulkan, sought to confront such sentiments yesterday as he categorically stated, that Guyana is dying under the administration of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C). For this reason and more, he emphasized that the coalition is crucial to ensuring that a new era of accountability, national unity and good governance are restored.
Bulkan was at the time speaking at the first press conference held by the APNU-AFC coalition since their official announcement of their relationship on Valentine’s Day.
Representing APNU at the Hadfield Street office of the Leader of the Opposition, was its General Secretary Joseph Harmon and Ronald Bulkan. They were joined by AFC representatives including General Secretary David Patterson and co-founding member of the party, Raphael Trotman.
The APNU Local Government Shadow Minister said that Guyana is in a situation that calls for such an alliance and that the overwhelming response received from the citizenry can attest to that.
He told media operatives that while he holds the view that Guyana is dying under the leadership of the current administration, his point can be substantiated by the irrefutable fact of the dwindling population since the PPP/C took office.
Bulkan reminded that, based on his research, statistics would show that in the 1990s the population was placed at 764,000 persons and in 2012 the census placed the nation at just under 748, 000.
“So we have been depopulating and I think it is fairly well established that any organization or entity that is not growing is dying, hence, I hold the view that Guyana is dying. In my opinion, the main reason for the mass exodus and the fleeing of our people in droves – the talented and the educated – is the fact that we don’t have social cohesion and it is due to the failure of governance in the 49 years since we have been an independent nation.
“We have not created the conditions to keep up our best human talent in Guyana. The last 49 years I refer to has been largely ‘exclusionary politics’, ‘one party rule’ and ‘winner-takes-all’. APNU and AFC now together, have firmly established that they reject that approach to governance and that what is required is a new dispensation,” the APNU Parliamentarian said.
Harmon said that the APNU-AFC pro-democracy alliance has presented a ten-point programme for democracy, development and national unity. He said that this follows their decision to contest the forthcoming General and Regional Elections as a coalition.
The Shadow Minister of Public Works and Telecommunications, also stated that the decision was embodied in the “Cummingsburg Accord” signed by the APNU Leader, David Granger and AFC leader, Khemraj Ramjattan on Valentine’s Day.
Of significance, he said, is the fact that the APNU and AFC pledge to lead Guyana forward into a new era of accountability, human safety, financial probity, governmental transparency, parliamentary democracy and national unity among other things.
The coalition partners, he said, have promised that, with the formation of a government of national unity, they would implement a programme of governance. The main elements will include constitutional reform which will be an introduction of meaningful reform programmes geared towards improving governance and fair representation.
The programme will also include economic development strategies which will see the creation of a long-term economic development programme, based on consultation and consensus and aimed at realizing the vast potential of the country.
As for financial legislation, this will mean the passage of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Bill as well as the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission, he explained.
The politician said that even the date for Local Government elections would be released and a programme for national unity introduced.
Harmon said that their improved governance programme would also see a comprehensive review of current taxation policies, including the value added tax.
The lawyer asserted that moves would definitely be made to review, restructure and liberalize the telecommunications and information sectors, as well as, implement a programme for ensuring sustained improvement in public security.
Programmes for youth development and the reorganization of public services, are also on the table to be rolled out under an APNU-AFC government.
Harmon said that in accordance with the Cummingsburg Accord, both parties commit themselves to accept and promote dialogue, discussion and the use of constitutional means to advance economic, political and social change, reject ethnicity as a consideration for participation of citizens in government, denounce corruption and promote financial transparency and probity at all levels of government.
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