The past week was an interesting one for the Alliance For Change (AFC) and its candidates contesting next month’s Local Government Elections.
The Party is ramping up our campaign to promote the more than 600 candidates we are fielding countrywide, contesting in 38 of the 80 local authorities. We’re doing what we can to bring our young candidates to the public’s attention, but as usual we have succeeded in provoking the ire of the opposition party’s General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo.
Instead of informing the public of his party’s plans to raise the standard of living in towns and inland communities, Jagdeo spent a lot of time at a recent press conference fuming at the AFC’s leaders for “holding back” information from him, not telling him which areas or districts that we would not contest this year. So, our Leaders with tongue in cheek started enquiring from each other when the dictum was passed compelling them to report to Jagdeo, to reveal their tactical moves to him, or to be instructed on what to do by a man who ought to be before criminal courts.
Last week, we announced that we will compete for Council and NDC seats in 38 districts, 15 less than we had originally planned. The reasons for this reduction are a somewhat complicated, and most are for tactical reasons.
Little things that are entirely the AFC’s business are again causing the opposition leader to become incensed. Campaign Manager and Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson told the public that “we are fielding more than 160 candidates, with the majority being under the age of 40”. Even this apparently innocuous informative statement seemed to invoke the wrath of Jagdeo.
So, he chose to go on the offensive against the AFC in his usual ‘buse down” fashion, declaring that he finds it “unbelievable that someone would come to a press conference and can’t tell you where we are pulling out from”. The man is a seasoned politician and is expected to be a little astute, enough to deduce that the AFC is most unwilling to play into his hands. In this political arena, information is currency and we do reserve the right to release our own data to the public when it is advantageous to do so, not when Jagdeo wants the information. That is not how it works here or anywhere.
In many people’s opinion, the AFC is the Party that is capable of digging into his support base as we did in the General Elections of 2011 when the PPP was relegated to Parliamentary minority status. It happened again in 2015 when voters decided that there was enough stealing and playing fast and loose with their taxes and revenue. So they expressed their opinions in the voting booths. They came out loud and clearly said that they were not going to stand for any more institutionalized racism, malignant corruption and its married partner, the narcotics underworld and their children killing, drug busts, guns, computerized spying, and hard, cold green cash.
People have had enough and many have vowed that under no circumstances would they allow the PPP anywhere near the revenue they expect to come into the national treasury after 2020 from the Oil and Gas Industry, money that the people rightfully expect to enhance their lives and their children’s education.
So, Campaign Manager and Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson, has said that the AFC party has confidence in its chances at winning council seats in this year’s Local Government Elections, even though we are contesting separate from our Coalition partner. This too was a tactic that we do not intend to unduly influence the strong governmental partnership we share with APNU.
Mr. Patterson says the Party is satisfied with the progress and the preparations made for the LGE.
“The campaign now moves into the next stage. Over the next four weeks, there will be different activities countrywide,” he said, with candidates involved in television and radio debates, interviews and call-in programmes to let the public know exactly what they have planned for their respective constituencies.
Actually, the AFC looks forward to a series of public debates among the candidates representing the different parties, particularly in the larger constituencies like Georgetown, Linden, Bartica, New Amsterdam and Rose Hall. This we think, is going to be excellent proving fields for the Guyana Press Association. The AFC is ready to roll out our brigade of young candidates who are almost all under 40 years old.
Perhaps the youngest is 2018 high school graduate, Brittany Eversley, who will contest the Constituency Number 10 seat for the sprawling Charlestown/Albousytown District. This youth is very determined to improve the lot of people in her area and work with the appropriate authorities to address the social ills, which her predecessor had spent a lot of time on the ground addressing with the folks.
The Alliance For Change is moving forward with a “fired up” campaign showcasing our “fit and proppa” candidates who are determined to avoid any conflicts with other candidates.
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