The Alliance For Change (AFC) is satisfied with its achievement during its time in government although it acknowledges that more could have been done, according to party leader Raphael Trotman, who yesterday said he believes that it has not lost any support.
Trotman, who was at the time responding to criticism levelled against the party, also told a news conference that he relies on history and not critics and is ready to respond to those in the trenches and not those who sit as pundits.
He reminded that when the AFC was launched, it was dismissed by pundits as “wishy washy” and “underwhelming” and told it would achieve nothing. “Ten years later, we achieved what no other political party in the history of the Anglophone Caribbean has both as a political party and a third force. We gained 5 then 7 then 12 seats into government,” Trotman said.
Former House Speaker Ralph Ramkarran SC, writing in his weekly Conversation Tree column over the weekend, argued the need for a new political party that will seek the support of the groups that the AFC has disappointed. “…The failure of the AFC to bridge the racial gap in politics as promised, or to influence APNU in any way, much less implementing constitutional reform, has signalled the end of the AFC’s influence in the coalition and its electoral support,” he asserted.
Quoting late American president Theodore Roosevelt, Trotman yesterday stressed that “It is not the critic who counts… The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly.”
He added, “It is a daily challenge but looking at what we have achieved we moved from zero to government.”
Trotman, a former House Speaker, further explained that the performance of individual AFC ministers in their portfolio areas, such as Public Infrastructure, Telecommunications, Agriculture and Natural Resources shows that the party has not just done well but done better than it was told it would do.
Some pundits, he added, have never run anything except their own offices and have never campaigned nor governed. “We will go to our supporters and tell them we have done our best with what we were given,” Trotman proclaimed.
Asked whether the party has as many supporters as it did in 2015, Trotman said yes.
“Our membership continues to be strong. Our membership continues to grow. Despite the daily onslaught of criticism, the support remains,” he said.
He noted that there are grouses but there is no indication that support has fallen away. He asserted that though persons are disappointed, there is no large fall away and instead the party continues receive steady membership applications.
Telecommunications Minister Cathy Hughes, in adding to Trotman’s response, indicated that only on Sunday evening she met 18 young people who were joining the party’s youth arm, the Youth For Change.