– pledges fight against corruption, cronyism, crime, poverty and dictatorship
By Abena Rockcliffe
The coalition A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) yesterday launched its “people’s manifesto” at the Stabroek Market Square in the midst of the afternoon rush in that vicinity.
Coalition officials made it clear that the choice to hold the event at that venue was birthed out of a desire to reach out to Guyanese from all walks of life as opposed to just the privileged. Of course, it was pointed out that the incumbent People’s Progressive Party/Civic launched its manifesto at the taxpayer-funded Marriott Hotel, a place where “many of us don’t have ‘gangzee’ to go.”
The document launched was described as a plan to turn Guyana back into a country that all can be proud of. It was labeled a “people’s manifesto” as it was inspired by the people, for the best interest of the people.
The manifesto includes a 100-day plan as well as a five-year plan which the coalition boasts will be used to eradicate the major ills of the Guyanese society.
A glimpse of the document revealed plans to establish an Integrity Commission, carry out a number of investigations into contracts crafted for numerous controversial projects such
as the Marriott Hotel, Amaila Falls Hydro Project, Skeldon Sugar Factory and the Cheddi Jagan International Airport expansion project.
The coalition committed to constitutional reform under which separation of powers will be a must. Plans for the youth and women are also reflected in the manifesto.
Addressing the gathering, APNU+AFC Presidential Candidate David Granger said that Guyana is “a land of six peoples but is one nation”, while “APNU+AFC is a force of six parties but stands as one coalition”. He said that that one strong standing coalition will show Guyana a new form of governance and remove six dreadful things from society: poverty, crime, corruption, cronyism, disunity and dictatorship.
Granger said that the manifesto has strategies to win a fight against such ills.
Starting with poverty, Granger said that too many Guyanese are living in poverty and noted that that is not the case as a result of Guyana being a poor country “it is just that the PPP is thieving too much…We have more resources than any other country in Caribbean, but the PPP wants to take all.” He promised that a government of National Unity will minimize poverty.
Granger then turned his attention to disunity and noted that it has prevented development for many years in Guyana. He told supporters and curious onlookers that the coalition is a representation of what Guyana will be under a government of national unity “unified.”
He pledged to remove dictatorship as well as cronyism.
“When the president has a fibre optic cable to lay, who does he give it to?” Granger asked. The crowd responded, “His son.”
The Presidential hopeful then said that an APNU+AFC government will ensure that projects are not handed to friends and family but to “efficient, competent, engineers and contractors, ‘down with cronyism.’”
Granger said that dictatorship will be addressed through meaningful constitutional reform.
Turning his attention to corruption, Granger said that it is eating away at the heart of good governance in Guyana. He promised that a coalition government will stand firm against corruption and ensure that it pays better wages and salaries to public servants so that they would not be forced into corrupt practices.
He also pledged that the coalition will take the necessary steps to reduce crime in Guyana and assured that the manifesto properly addresses this.
Meanwhile, Prime Ministerial Candidate Moses Nagamootoo spoke of the restoration of open and accountable governance, should the coalition secure a victory at the upcoming elections.
“This is what underlines this document… it includes policies and programmes that we would adopt to bring about an open society,” Nagamootoo said in his brief remarks to the crowd of supporters.
”We have not copied anyone here. We are original, we have ideas that can take this country forward and resolve the problems of corruption, problems of crime and low wages and take care of the many jobless.
Copies of the manifesto were handed out to a number of groups and organizations.
Representatives of sugar workers, women, vendors, veterans, miners and several organiztions were all given manifestos.
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