Feb 18, 2021 News
– AFC says “you will have people coming off” but that hundreds have joined
By Kemol King
Kaieteur News – Former Alliance For Change (AFC) Member of Parliament, Reynard Ward, on Monday tendered his resignation from the party over its “broken, abusive and one-sided relationship” which AFC Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan, yesterday acknowledged referred to the party’s ties with the larger A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).
Ward served in Parliament from April 2019 to the end of the last administration’s term, as a replacement MP, after court battles following the December 21, 2018 No-Confidence Motion determined it unlawful for some Coalition dual-citizen MPs to sit in the House.
Ramjattan, during a Wednesday press conference, noted his disappointment with Ward’s decision to exit the party. Ramjattan added, “You will have people coming off for a variety of reasons,” and “I rather suspect that there might be other reasons why he came off, but all the best to him in the future.”
The AFC had plans for Ward, Ramjattan explained, because “he is an extremely bright guy… [who] performed very commendably.”
While Ramjattan hoped Ward would stay on to assist as shadow Minister of Agriculture and to write articles on the subject matter, he said, “I noticed they come off and they write more about their resignation, rather than a couple letters and articles on the things that they are trained to do.”
The party leader hopes to hear from Ward in the future on possible “re-visitation” with the AFC.
Ramjattan told reporters that these matters may get “tremendous sensationalism in the press” but that hundreds of people are joining the AFC all across the country through the party’s recent recruitment drive.
Party Executive, Cathy Hughes, posited that it has been difficult to be associated with the AFC following the August inauguration of President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, and his Cabinet, and that persons will leave or want to keep their membership a secret for their survival and that of their families.
She said, “I think also if we are honest, we need to realize that it’s very difficult to be in politics in Guyana, and sometimes, we forget the reality. We have seen since August of 2020, a clear indication that if you are part of any political party, you are more than likely to lose your job, be denied employment opportunities regardless of your qualifications and how good a fit you are for any particular position, and of course, and there are issues that surround quite often the maligning of your character. I talked about fake news but when it comes to fake news, that is also a huge challenge in that there is information that is purely not accurate, that is put out, that is designed just to malign an individual’s character. And I say that to say that it’s very, very difficult for persons to be publicly associated with parties, especially our party at this point in time. And so for their own survival, to ensure that they can feed their families, that they can continue to live in Guyana, many of them have recognized that they need to show, in a very demonstrative way, that they’re not part of the AFC.”
General Secretary of the AFC, David Patterson, said that he can attest to that, as persons are asking the party not to release their membership because, for instance, getting certain approvals in the mining sector require them to answer whether they are affiliated with a political party.
The APNU+AFC Coalition relationship has been strained, following a contentious five-month electoral saga, characterized by widespread accusations of electoral fraud. The Coalition most notably attempted to have the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) declare results, which would have granted it a second term, but were exposed as fraudulent.
The AFC, like APNU, has accused the new government of embarking on a vindictive purge of public servants considered to be affiliated with the immediate former David Granger administration, such as former Executive
Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr. Vincent Adams, who as an Executive Member of the AFC, appeared during yesterday’s press conference.
Ward’s resignation from AFC is not the first since the APNU+AFC was unseated by the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) in August last year. Former Region Five Councillor, Abel Seetaram, left the party in October last, and noted in a letter to Ramjattan that he was disgruntled with the AFC’s relationship with the APNU, particularly its largest constituent, the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R).
Similarly, Ward, in a resignation letter addressed to the party’s General Secretary, said that his best time in the AFC was when it was the “public’s Pitbull and not as the PNC’s puppet.”
“However, sadly,” he added, “post 2015, the implementation of the vision was tunnelled. The vision for the new Guyana girdled with wishes and dreams of the 1970’s and 1980’s hopefuls. This started the deterioration of hope and trust of party supporters and that of the people, even those who did not voted for us but supported what we aimed to achieve.”
In his resignation letter, Ward told Patterson, “The AFC that consumed me, my then young friends, like-minded associates (intellectuals, professionals and others), family and even other party supporters was a political force to reckon with. The party was full of energy, hope and diversity. It was what the new Guyana wanted; it was what the majority of youths wanted; it was what the diaspora wanted.”
The AFC, Ward said, has towed the line with APNU despite the “abusive” relationship, hoping for better, but that “Unfortunately, there seems to be no hope for a better tomorrow with the current players even with a reshuffle.”
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