In any voluntary organization like the NY-NJ AFC Chapter members will come and go

Dear Editor, 

Much has been made recently in the press about the supposed demise of the AFC’s New York and New Jersey Chapter consequent upon recent “defections” to APNU. As we read that these developments are a great blow to the AFC movement, we are here to say that nothing could be further from the truth. We are here to say that the AFC’s NY & NJ chapter is alive and well. We are reminded of the quote by Mark Twain, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

Our Chapter was created in 2005 by a number of patriotic individuals who are still very active in it. Our goal is to provide support to the brave and courageous fighters in Guyana who seek to uphold the founding principles of the AFC which seeks to transform our birthland to a place where all Guyanese are treated equally, have equal opportunities, have good and non-corrupt governance, have a just judiciary, have decent education and health care, and have a real constitution, among other things. All of our officers including the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, and coordinators for various divisions in Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn, New Jersey, Florida and DC are still in place. Our Chapter consists of members, supporters and donors who volunteer their time, energies and resources. They are regular hard-working Guyanese from all races and all walks of life. They are mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, aunts and uncles, sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews, and friends and neighbours. When last we checked, our members and supporters were still around except for the ‘defectors.’  If the group is dead, no one told us yet, nor are we aware as yet, and we should know.

As for the so called ‘defectors,’ we are very thankful for their previous support and we wish them nothing but the best in their future endeavours. We live in a free and democratic society and recognise everyone’s right to freedom of speech and association. These gentlemen have provided invaluable service to the AFC, especially Prof Euclid Rose in his numerous letters and Prof Tarron Khemraj for sharing his expertise on economic issues. Mr Rab Mukhraj was somewhat in self-exile for several years now, but we appreciate all he did prior to that.

As they exercise their freedom of association, we hope that they will recognize the right of others to disagree with them. Their recent staunch position on the Amaila Hydro issue and wanting to have the AFC blindly join APNU on all issues, was resisted by the national AFC leadership. The NY-NJ Chapter’s leadership also resisted the manner in which they, especially Euclid Rose, was almost violently opposed to the stance taken by our AFC parliamentarians whose position of allowing the Amaila Project to go for an IDB due diligence we found thoroughly sensible and perfectly in order.

We are also aware that they wanted, against the wishes of the majority in the Chapter, the AFC to align with PNC-APNU and to prepare to go in that format to the next elections. They found the Chapter’s resistance to that hard to crack, and hence walked into the arms of the PNC-APNU. We rate one of the AFC’s founding principles very highly, namely, that the AFC must be independent from the PPP and PNC-APNU. If that founding principle is not upheld or observed, then and only then will you see the demise of this NY-NJ AFC Chapter and the AFC nationally. It was this middle course and trajectory which caused us to come into existence here in the USA. What foolishness to now run that aground by joining up with one of the two.

In any voluntary organization like our Chapter, members will come and go constantly. Some even disappear until the next election or party congress, only to profess their undying loyalty and support. This is the same in any political party. These gentlemen are not the first to have walked, and they will not be the last. As they move on with APNU, we are reminded that our duty is not to dictate policies or demand positions or use bullying and abusive tactics to force our leaders in Guyana to conformity. We are here to recommend, persuade and assist.

As they move on, we will move on too. We in the NY/NJ – AFC Chapter know who our current members, donors and supporters are. From a starting few patriots in 2005, to now hundreds, the the NY/ NJ AFC Chapter is indeed alive and well.

We’ll close with another quote from Mark Twain, “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.”

 

Yours faithfully,
Rohan Somar
Chairman
Mr Ewart Marshall,
Vice Chairman
Mr Sankar Naihru
Treasurer
NY/NJ – AFC Chapter

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