In the wake of the crisis in the prisons system following the destruction of the Camp Street jail and the escape of high-profile prisoners, the AFC yesterday voiced confidence in Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan’s who is its immediate past leader and current Chairman of the party.
A statement from the AFC follows:
The Alliance For Change held its third National Executive Committee meeting on Saturday, August 5th at the Georgetown Club. The meeting was attended by representatives from all administrative regions, the Diaspora, Youth For Change (YFC), Women For Change (WFC), the elected leadership and national executives.
Following is a summary of the principal matters deliberated on:
- A motion was unanimously approved that the party reposes its full and complete confidence in its chairman, Khemraj Ramjattan, as Minister of Public Security. The motion followed events of July 9th and subsequently, which brought national focus and attention on the public security sector. It was noted that despite the challenges, public order has been maintained and that the recapture of most of the escaped prisoners was done in a relatively short period of time and largely without incident. The motion specifically noted the decades long historical and systemic difficulties relating to the public security sector.
- YFC made robust and vigorous representation to the NEC and the party’s leadership for review of the laws relating to marijuana possession. The case was presented by YFC President Ms. Rutherford, who pressed the party’s leadership to lobby for reform of the laws on this matter. During extensive discussions, it was noted that the current laws result in many young people, particularly young men and numerous mothers of young children being imprisoned for possession of small quantities of marijuana, at maximum detention facilities alongside hardened criminals. It was agreed by the NEC that modification of the existing laws, will, among other benefits, lend to reduction of the overcrowded prison population. Specifically, YFC urged changes to the law as it relates to mandatory imprisonment for possession of small quantities of marijuana, an overhaul of existing guidelines for sentencing and the granting of bail for narcotics offenses.
This issue has been championed for a number of years by party veteran, community activist and executive member Michael Carrington, Member of Parliament.
- The NEC unanimously reaffirmed its publicly known position that the party was and is against the Parking Meter contract in its current form and until otherwise advised the party will remain in vehement disagreement with the said contract.
Party Leader Raphael Trotman detailed the countrywide outreaches executed by the party over the past three months along with one major outreach to the New York Chapter of the party while urging the NEC members, particularly parliamentarians, to utilize the period of parliamentary recess to conduct more outreaches on coastland and in hinterland communities to strengthen and expand the party’s membership.
Political Advisor and Elder Statesman, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo presented an extensive report to the NEC on three major advances on governance matters at the national level namely (i) Constitutional Reform (ii) Code of Conduct for public officials and (iii) passing of the Broadcasting Amendment Bill 2017.
The Prime Minister emphasized that these successes formed collective evidence that the AFC was keeping its covenant with, and promise to, the people to advance these fundamental matters in the interest of all Guyanese for a modern society.
A comprehensive report was presented on the Cummingsburg Accord and the NEC reaffirmed the united strength of the Coalition Government. The NEC further urged implementation of inter-coalition mechanisms for regular and routine dialogue amongst parties.
Chairman Ramjattan, Vice Chairperson Cathy Hughes and General Secretary Marlon Williams all noted the significant successes made by the party in 2017 and urged the NEC members to continue the work at the grassroots level. The regions 5 and 10 Regional Management Committees were specifically lauded for their work at the community level.