-as new AFC headquarters commissioned
By Jarryl Bryan
As the Alliance for Change (AFC) christened a new headquarters yesterday, President David Granger is
making it clear that coalition politics is here to stay in Guyana.
This was communicated during the launching, which saw the attendance of a number of special invitees and party loyalists. It also saw members of the Indigenous community christening the edifice in their own traditional way.
Granger noted that February 14 will mark one year since the signing of the Cummingsburg Accord, an event that he noted ushered in a new way of doing things, and a new era.
“We came together not because of office or the past, but because we were concerned for the future,” Granger said. “We have made lots of mistakes, but the world is not standing still. Other countries, sometimes with fewer resources than Guyana, are moving ahead.”
“We have made mistakes that we must be held accountable for but it has been wonderful; this journey,” Granger continued. “Since we have formed this movement, we have said we want national unity; we want justice; we want equality; we want to make Guyana number one in the Caribbean and we will make it through this Coalition politics, through the partnership that we have with the APNU.”
AFC co-founder and Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan, tracing the history of the AFC, saw his break with the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) as a blessing in disguise.
“A lot of things happen when you get expelled,” Ramjattan, once a PPP Member of Parliament before he was expelled from the party said. “The necessity of the situation can make you create organizations.”
He noted that even when in the PPP, he had been close to party co-founders Raphael Trotman and the late Sheila Holder. He referenced his struggle for Commissions of Inquiries into the conduct of former Minister of Home Affairs, Ronald Gajraj and his struggle for reform within the party.
He also recollected the way he was expelled by the party. On the night of February 13, 2004, mere hours before midnight to welcome February 14, a letter announcing his expulsion was delivered to his house. Ramjattan went on to pull out that very letter, which he had preserved for over a decade, from his pocket. He said that his expulsion was engineered by then President Bharrat Jagdeo.
“It is not surprising that, rather than solving those problems internally, expulsion was the result then,” he said. “So I decided at that stage that I would not simply desert the political landscape.”
Chairman of the AFC, Nigel Hughes, who spoke on the principles and ideologies of this party, echoed the sentiments of national unity.
“We are all equal in the fact that we are all different. We are same in the fact that we will never be the same,” he said. “We are united by the reality that all colours and all cultures are distinct and individual. We are harmonious in the reality that we are all held to this earth by the same gravity. We may not share the same blood but we share the same air that keeps us alive.”
The AFC Headquarters has been named the Centre for Change and is located at 26 Railway Line Kitty. The facility’s conference room has been named for the late Co-Founder of the party, Ms. Sheila Holder, who was remembered in tribute.
AFC member and Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin stated that the building was initially a residential building that was offered to the party. The initial cost was some $18M. It is understood that civil society and both foreign and local businesses contributed to the expenses.
Gaskin noted that the building had to be renovated. The business community pitched in with buckets of cement among other items, because at the time of purchase the building was “virtually uninhabitable.”
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