I refer to a letter by Dr David Hinds captioned “Opposition parties in the Caribbean are victims of democratic exclusion” (07.10.31). I will not take issue with all of Dr. Hinds’s analysis of the AFC because as a political science professor it is his job to examine facts from every possible angle so as to make the subject interesting. What I do wish to correct him on is the allegation that the AFC forced the PNCR into the 2006 election. This is not true as far as the AFC is concerned. If however the AFC had that effect on the PNCR after just 10 months in existence, then let the facts speak for themselves.
The PNCR was consistently saying “No verification, no election!” Our information and intelligence told us otherwise, and so we hastened to prepare. The AFC’s position that it was proceeding into the election was well known and was consistently being attacked. Nonetheless I represented the AFC at a meeting held at the Georgetown Club on Wednesday 5th April, 2007, at which approximately twenty five others were present. The agenda was to agree on a plan of action to compel the government to hold a verification exercise. I made some suggestions as did others. I left early to attend another engagement; but up until the time I left there was no collective decision taken that the opposition parties represented there would not participate in the elections. My notes, and a verbatim transcript of what transpired, are available for all to see. There was never any other meeting between the AFC and the other parties, or singularly with the PNCR.
In terms of Mrs. Holder’s work and involvement with the AFC, Dr. Hinds is the second senior WPA official to recognize her efficacy as a parliamentarian, the first being Mr Eusi Kwayana. Most others dismissed her as a joke. Thanks for standing up and being decent. I wish to remind Dr. Hinds however that when Mrs. Holder represented the GAP-WPA alliance in the National Assembly, she was a one-person army so to speak, and so it necessarily follows that she had to master all disciplines and do the work of many. Today she is a member of a five person delegation (hopefully 6 in the near future) and so her work is not as scattered, but rather more focused on the specific portfolios that she has been asked by the party to shadow.
Finally, the argument that upon winning seats at the last election in parliament and in every single Regional Democratic Council, the AFC had to transition quickly from being a pressure movement into a political party lest it suffered the fate of the WPA, prevailed; hence a dropping of the reference to the term “movement”. Dr. Hinds is absolutely right when he asserts that movements don’t choose the electoral arena as their chief battleground, as the WPA mistakenly did.
The AFC is a two year old sapling; the WPA of which Dr. Hinds is an executive member, is a grown, hardened, and three decades old tree. All we ask is for a chance to grow up.