The APNU+AFC Coalition’s Manifesto was launched on Valentine’s Day, Friday 14 February 2020, the 5th anniversary of the official launch of this winning partnership of seven political parties.
This is the penultimate stage in a five-stage process that began with the parties re-writing the Cummingsburg Accord (2020) which principally determines the composition of our governing team. The other stages involve the preparation of our manifesto, and the conduct of the elections campaign which is in full swing.
Following is the message from the AFC’s Chairman and Prime Ministerial Candidate, Khemraj Ramjattan, which is published in the Manifesto alongside the message of Presidential Candidate, David Arthur Granger.
“On March 2, your family and neighbours will go to the polls to elect a government for the next five years. The outcome of these Regional and National elections will decide Guyana’s future for generations.
The choice you face is whether to keep moving forward with progress, building on the solid foundation laid for our economic and social development under the leadership of President David Granger, or to return to the past, to the time when Guyanese faced tremendous hardships because of the politics of the PPP government.
No one can reasonably deny the impressive record of performance of the APNU+AFC Coalition in strengthening the national economy and restoring hope among our people. During the last four years, we embarked on a programme to make systemic and strategic changes to improve the economy, social protection, infrastructure, telecommunications, hinterland development, housing and health care.
We have reduced the tax burden on our people. We have reduced Corporate Tax on businesses with amnesty on arrears. We have increased the Minimum Wage and Old Age Pension. When the Coalition took over Government, Guyana was on the brink of becoming a “narco-state”, and crime and corruption were damaging the reputation of our country in the eyes of the international community. We have changed that by using intelligence, surveillance techniques, and investing adequate resources in law enforcement.
Guyana is about to start receiving significant revenues from our new oil and gas sector. Some people, based on their behaviour, would like to get their hands on this revenue to enrich themselves and their friends as they have done in other sectors. We, however, have a plan, which the President has entitled “The Decade of Development”. We are going to use that plan and the oil revenue to transform Guyana for the benefit of all Guyanese.
The Decade of Development will involve projects and programmes to bring lasting change to our society. Every Guyanese can look forward to progress and prosperity in a new Guyana with continued growth and job creation; reduction in poverty; an environment for our youth to thrive; a society, which is knowledge-based with robust Information Communications Technology; greater access to affordable education, healthcare and housing; improved social protection in a cohesive state where all Guyanese enjoy equal status, equal rights, enhanced safety and security.
Our commitment is that every Guyanese will enjoy a high quality of life and be happy to make and call Guyana their home irrespective of the region in which they reside, their ethnicity, gender, religion, age, social status, political persuasion, or sexual orientation.
Great things happen when we work together. The Coalition’s achievements in the last term are proof of that. One Good Term deserves another. I therefore ask for your vote on March 2.
Moving Forward Together. Don’t stop the Progress.
ENHANCED LAW ENFORCEMENT & THE SIGNING BONUS
In a recent interview, candidate Ramjattan said that the article published recently by ‘Global Witness’ smacked of propaganda and contained manipulated information which was denounced by other global publications. He debunked the lies being repeated by the Opposition about the signing bonus given to Guyana by ExxonMobil, stating, “We fought hard to get the best deal we could get. We could not procrastinate for a number of reasons, and in light of their commitment to begin oil production in five years, and they have done just that”.
The signing bonus was a good start for Guyana to modernise infrastructure and health facilities; provide better pay and working conditions for teachers and nurses; new stations, equipment, vehicles, overseas training and other human resource development for police ranks; establish a technical vocational institute in every administrative region; provide free education at every level with facilities to prepare at-risk youths for the workforce and self-employment; and to purchase new maritime equipment including a fire boat and faster vessels to service riverain communities, and to protect fisher folk especially on the Corentyne and Mahaica Rivers from piracy.
In justifying the 2:00 am party curfew, the Chairman said that as unpopular as the curfew is, law enforcement is recording reducing rates of person-to-person crimes, noting that domestic homicides have come down from 20 per 100 persons in 2016 to 14.9 per 100 persons in 2019.
“We have a lot more to do to cultivate different behaviours such as working with community leaders, building better prisons, and mounting additional signage on main roads and highways.
Guyana still has big challenges to overcome such as trafficking in persons and drugs, and nabbing the masterminds of crime. He promised that one of the first amendments to be presented in the next Parliament is for confiscation of the proceeds of crime.
The United States State Department has commended Guyana for making some inroads, but there is more to be done.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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