The AFC will not retain even its 2006 share of the vote if it runs alone in 2011

Dear Editor,

It seems that some within the National Executive Committee of the AFC just don’t get it. As reported in the SN of July 27, “the AFC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) took a decision that would rule out alliances or partnerships with either the main opposition PNCR or the PPP/C for the 2011 general elections.” Well, someone has to have the courage to give them the bad news: There is absolutely no way the AFC will even retain the 8.4% of the electorate they had in 2006 if they run alone in 2011, much less form the new government. Most of their votes were taken from the PNCR, and they still ended up with a majority 34% among the opposition parties. It seems convenient for people to judge the PNC  on the mistakes made when Burnham ruled supreme, completely ignoring the fact that the PPP has been the party in power for over 18 years, making Burnham look like an altar boy with their dismal record of corruption, joblessness, misuse of taxpayers money, and lack of accountability and transparency. Although I strongly believe that Robert Corbin should step down as Leader of the PNCR, his party is still the most formidable force to defeat the PPP/C in any general election. They have more brains than the AFC, better organization to get out the vote, better name recognition, and more loyal supporters nationwide. Over the years, the PNCR has made tremendous progress in reaching out to other groups and individuals, and has been leading the effort to unite a common opposition against the corrupt Jagdeo regime. The PNCR, if elected, is experienced and knowledgeable enough to run this government from day one, without having to go through any form of on-the-job training.

The AFC has a choice: It can play a meaningful role in nation building, or it can run alone and be a spoiler, betraying the hope of so many who are longing for

a new dawn – a new era!

In his letter in SN of July 27 (‘The AFC’s preemptive preclusion of alliance with either of the two main parties undermines its doctrine of coalition building’), Mr Rickford Burke very eloquently explained the blunder the Alliance For Change is making, which is political suicide. I strongly urge those who are so offended by Mr Burke’s views, to objectively read his letter again. The AFC may see itself as the party of the future, and maybe it will get there one day, but not next year.

The AFC talks about being unable to maintain its identity and core principles if it was to ally with the PNCR. How about it demonstrating it is mature enough to help create that “alliance for change” that it so proudly wears as its name, for it seems the party’s position is clearly contradictory.

It also appears that the real reason the party so adamantly opposed any alliance with the PNCR or PPP/C is because it wants to be the one calling the shots, and in any coalition, it will be the minority partner. Somehow, I believe the executive committee feels that an alliance with one of the bigger guns will make the AFC subservient to them, and ego will not permit this. But if the members truly have the best interest of all Guyanese at heart, they will find common ground and the respect of a grateful nation.

I am pleased that Mr Raphael Trotman has not closed the door to such an alliance, and he has demonstrated tremendous leadership qualities by doing so. It has been said that politics makes strange bedfellows, and the enemy of my enemy is my friend. But it is also true what Rickford Burke wrote in his letter: Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Yours faithfully,
Harry Gill

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