In an earlier letter, I wrote that the AFC is a party in its own right and will not join the coalition today, tomorrow or in the future. By now, I thought this would have been very clear to all, but it seems this is not the case. Some have opined that the AFC should stick to its founding principles, win, lose or draw, because for the AFC to coalesce with either the PPP or the PNC, it would be consumed, lose its identity and become a bird without wings, but others say that the AFC cannot win this election by itself because it has no governing philosophy, no penetrating message that will sway the voters, and no guiding principle on how to govern. While most of the writers of these suggestions may have good intentions, we all should be reminded that no one has a crystal ball to accurately predict the outcome of the 2011 elections. We should also be reminded that the AFC came into the world as a coalition: Khemraj Ramjattan from the PPP, Raphael Trotman from the PNC and Sheila Holder from the WPA. These leaders realized that after 28 years of PNC rule and almost 20 years of the ruling PPP, Guyana is a failed state. Had it not been for the remittances of those Guyanese who migrated en masse, Guyana would be much poorer today. It is true that remittances have and continue to help feed, house and clothe the nation.
It continues to be my belief that a coalition will not be in the best interest of the AFC and it will not be forced into joining APNU. It is important for us to remember that after 45 years of independence, we have nothing much to show for our existence as a nation except for power blackouts, dilapidated educational and health care systems, flooding, unchecked nepotism, a high crime rate, rampant corruption, narcotics trafficking, the exodus of skilled and qualified Guyanese, and the rich getting richer while the masses get poorer. In the midst of this, two separate generations – the elderly and the youths – have been neglected and left to fend for themselves. The AFC will make a genuine effort to improve the welfare of the elderly and advance the interests of the youths. Guyana is haemorrhaging and the AFC has a comprehensive plan to stop the haemorrhage. Given all the inherent uncertainties that currently exist in Guyana, the goal of the AFC is to rebuild this nation and make it prosperous for everyone. To achieve this goal, the AFC has established a comprehensive governing philosophy based on sound, practical economic and political principles that are outlined in its eight characteristics of good governance. These are grounded in the proper exercise of authority to efficiently manage Guyana’s natural resources and affairs in a manner that is open, transparent, accountable, equitable and responsive to the needs of the people. The party will not tolerate corruption. The AFC believes that without good governance, no amount of foreign aid and no amount of effort can guarantee the successful development of Guyana. The AFC will establish a truly representative and accountable form of government based on liberal democratic principles such as freedom of expression and association, freedom of the press, the right to a speedy and fair trial, an impartial, effective and independent legal/judicial system to maintain and enforce the laws governing the actions of individuals and public/private organizations. No one shall be above the law and everyone is equal under the constitution.
The AFC will promote broad-based economic growth, a dynamic private/ public sector and social policies aimed at reducing unemployment among the youths and poverty in general in order to maximize the economic and social advancement of all the people of Guyana. Its highest priority is investment in people, especially the youths through improved access to quality education from elementary to university, adequate health care, housing, transportation and other vital services that underpin the country’s resource base.
These are some of the fundamental governing principles of the AFC. It will not adopt an Indian-Guyanese or an African-Guyanese campaign strategy to win the election, but an all-encompassing election strategy that includes all, irrespective of race, ethnicity or gender. The AFC is fully aware that elections are won or lost on campaigns and not by joining coalitions or on campaign strategies based on race.