AFC has to elect a presidential candidate who can beat the PPP at big league politics while being acceptable to the Afro-Guyanese community

Dear Editor,

The majority opposition will cry buckets of tears unless they take decisive action now to build up their presence in the villages of Guyana. Now that Freedom House has all but sealed the deal (no elections until 2016), it is time for the majority opposition to spend more time focused on building their presence in every single community of Guyana.

We are aware that APNU will have major challenges in Enmore and Albion and the other East Indian dominated villages because of its historical association with the manner in which elections were conducted in Guyana especially between 1968 and 1985 when the PNC dominated power; the AFC does not carry such a political baggage. So why is the AFC not having a village captain in every single village of Guyana? If the AFC wants to cross over from being a small third party to a major political force then it has to seize the opportunity now. But this will only happen if the leaders of the AFC are eager and willing to enlarge the party base.

On the other hand, the APNU/PNC has to decide whether it wants to win or it wants to continue to be an opposition party for the rest of its life since this period between 1968 to 1985 continues to hang over its head. As the 1992 Carter Center Report (Page 16) stated, the international community viewed elections during this period as “fraudulent.” We want to quote Speaker Raphael Trotman who said many years ago when he was in the PNC that “reconciliation cannot be genuine, conscientious or long lasting unless there was an acceptance and recognition by both sides of past errors.” The rest is history, as he was forced out of the PNC under the leadership of Robert Corbin who we believe still controls the PNC faction of APNU from behind the scenes.

Once Robert Corbin and the likes of Hamilton Green continue to be a strong force of the internal operations of the PNC, they can never win any general elections since the East Indian communities will never accept people with such history. Joseph Harmon and David Granger are a different kettle of fish, they are better men; but the reality remains, they are in partial control of the party. They are in office but not in power at Congress Place. The Guyanese people are fully aware of this fact and thus the PNC continued to be unattractive in communities like Enmore and Lusignan among others. We call on David Granger and the other leaders in the PNC to be serious and get rid of those people who were associated with questionable elections.

So in the absence of such recognition by the current leaders of the PNC, the fortunes of the APNU will always be second best; and a direct consequence of political obtuseness is a slow but sure political transition to a party of pensioners since the new blood will continue to avoid them or just use them opportunistically.

What is the outcome of this? Either the AFC step up and fill the widening gap or a brand new party will blossom driven by the energy of the youths. This is on the horizon. We are happy to acknowledge the arrival of the youthful pressure group called the BLUE CAPS; still a far way from coming out of the incubator, but at least alive. It is a wonderful development for Guyana.

So what can the AFC do while the BLUE CAPS get their act together? This is a golden opportunity for the AFC to move from a third force to a major force before 2016? Can they do it? From what we are seeing, they have not done much differently with respect to mobilization, messaging, and their leadership since 2011. The AFC leaders should know that they cannot do the same thing over and over and expect different results. It is not going to happen.

Firstly, as the smallest of the three main political parties they need to have a much broader leadership in place. We recommend a full shadow cabinet and several fully established committees working on the main issues affecting the people especially the poor and the working class whom the PPP has abandoned. The AFC needs a new campaign strategy, messaging, and they have to mobilize all their forces. But most important, the AFC needs to showcase at least ten important faces if it is serious about making the transition from a small party to a large one. We are fully aware that the diaspora is important to the AFC but it has to recognize that it is a Guyana based party and therefore must use the local venue to broaden its base. To succeed, it must abandon its highfalutin language and inculcate the language and culture of the masses from coast to coast.

We know who are the presumptive Presidential Candidates of the PPP and APNU but we do not know who this person is for the AFC. Guyana politics is about party but personality has and continues to play a major role since the turn of the century and until and unless the AFC gets its act together on this important issue, the Guyanese public will always second-guess them. Naming a Presidential candidate a few months before an election will find the AFC in the same place where it is today—a small third force.

The AFC has to elect a presidential candidate who can beat the PPP at big league politics while at the same time being acceptable to the Afro-Guyanese community. We are sure that the only candidate alive in Guyana who can assemble such a political force to beat the PPP at big league politics is Moses Nagamootoo. However, can Moses Nagamootoo walk into Den Amstel or Buxton and be accepted as someone who can lead Guyana? We were advised that he was warmly embraced and accepted in the Afro-Guyanese village of Ithaca only a few days ago at one of the AFC community outreaches. We also know that he was warmly received in New Amsterdam, Manchester and several other Afro-Villages on the Corentyne but we are watching the press to see his entrance into Hopetown, Buxton, Den Amstel but more importantly South Georgetown and Linden.

The 2016 campaign started since January 2012, and the AFC is still at the back of the pack and they have to do something hurriedly and differently. This is the time for the AFC to shine its brightest lights but if it does not grab this once in a lifetime opportunity then it will surely follow in the path of the former United Force.

Yours faithfully,

Dr. Asquith Rose and Harish Singh

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