‘A party of substance’

Dear Editor,

The AFC party leaders and supporters should not get discouraged by doomsday soothsayers like Cheddi (Joey) Jagan (Jr) who prophesied in a letter “the writing is on the wall for the AFC.” The AFC leaders have taken the brave and courageous decision for the party to go on its own – a chivalrous move that is to be applauded; the judgement was to stand on principles, rather than jump on the bandwagon in pursuit of power.

Don’t you remember the days, Editor, when Guyanese were clamouring and bellowing for the formation of a party of younger, smarter, principled persons who would challenge the footholds of the PPP and PNC?  There were many voices – all over in Guyana, as well as in the diaspora – rooting for a party with a difference, a party which can change the diabolical binary arrangement of the PPP and PNC.  The AFC is what the people were dying for, and Guyanese should not forget the gestation period that evolved into the formation of this very significant party – a party that has been the focus of quibbles by the two major parties and political commentators.

I can understand Dr Jagan’s frustration with a government that has been in power for the past 19 years – a government blemished with scandals, little to show in terms of economic improvement, and doing virtually nothing to stop the spiralling crime rate, etc. Dr Jagan conjectured that if the AFC fails to retain their five seats, it would signal the end of the party and its leader, Mr Ramjattan.  I trust that the AFC would double its seats but even if they managed to get less than their present five, I do believe that conscientious Guyanese would press on with their principles that would one day see the realization of their dreams for a better Guyana. 

The federal NDP party of Canada comes to mind; this has been a ‘third party’ for decades, as Canadians traditionally put either the Conservative or Liberal parties in power.  But to the surprise of many, the NDP party a few months ago became the official opposition party for the first time in the country.  There is a good chance that that party could go on further to form the federal government.  The AFC should press on with their principles, and their day would sooner or later come.

As one writer put it recently, the AFC is in a marathon race; it is not a sprint.  Though it came out of the blocks late, the party managed an incredible 5 seats.  I do think people, especially the younger folk, are fed up with the PPP/PNC options; they want another alternative, I am convinced.

Dr Jagan surmises that there will be an early demise of the AFC, should it not join APNU.  I am surprised that a man of his calibre does not realize that if the AFC is part or parcel of either the PNC or the PPP, it would surely signal its end as a party, as that is the very reason why the AFC was birthed – to be a distinct alternative to the PPP and the PNC.

Should the AFC join APNU, and should there be (an improbable) victory for APNU, we can expect at least another two decades of ‘big party’ misrule and abuse of the kind we have had for almost 50 years. Then Guyanese again would be yearning, clamouring and  shrieking for a party other than the dichotomized PNC/PPP.  Guyanese will say, ‘how we long for a few people who are disaffected with these big party politics – people from various ethnic groups and various backgrounds who will take the mantle for the good of the country.’

Presidential candidate  Khemraj Ramjattan and prime ministerial candidate Sheila Holder as well as former party leader Raphael Trotman, are the type of leaders Guyanese have been longing for.  These are leaders who have become disaffected with the PNC and PPP, along with others of substance who are willing to put their shoulders to the wheel.

The AFC website is rather impressive, and corroborates that it is indeed a party of substance.  I believe that the people of Guyana appreciate that it is a principled party, and will give their vote and support to the party for the good of the country.

Yours faithfully,
Devanand Bhagwan

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