The Alliance for Change finds ironic the People’s Progressive Party’s claim of fraudulent conduct by AFC candidates considering that the PPP/C was forced to pull out of a constituency in the Wakenaam Neighbourhood Democratic Council for fraudulent behaviour, says AFC Georgetown chairman Michael Leonard.
At a press conference held yesterday at the AFC headquarters in Kitty, Georgetown, Leonard in a statement said, the dismissal by the High Court of the PPP’s legal challenge on the AFCs Bloomfield/Whim Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) list of backers of its candidates “is welcome but it is not unexpected.”
Asked about the party’s chances of winning the Bloomfield/Whim NDC, AFC general secretary Marlon Williams said the AFC will win the NDC and the municipalities of Bartica and Georgetown among others.
The PPP’s recent legal challenge, Leonard said “is one in a string of hostile position” towards the Judiciary with its leader recently turning his attention to bring the Caribbean Court of Justice into disrepute.
Meanwhile, an AFC constituency candidate for the Bartica municipality, Juretha Fernandes said, “I find it very funny that the PPP has the nerve to call people out for fraud when they have perfected the art of fraud.”
In 2016, when she contested on another slate, she said that after their group had submitted their list, the GECOM registration office called to inform her that she had signed as a backer of a PPP/C candidate. Her family members, who were not supporters of the PPP were also listed as backers of a PPP/C candidate. The signatures of the actual persons and those on the PPP/C list of backers did not match, she said.
“If you have to forge signatures,” she said, “It makes no sense in fighting, you will not get the votes.”
Leonard, a candidate on the party’s proportional representation list in the Georgetown municipality said he was recently attacked in a vulgar and libelous manner and he views this as a threat which the AFC is looking at “with utmost seriousness including legal recourse.”
His campaign poster was taken and edited to reflect that he was convicted of a crime when in fact, he said, “I was never charged or even being close to being charge.” The claim made by a fake profile was placed on the social website Facebook.
The AFC will continue to conduct a decent and honourable campaign and the party is not afraid of “the disgusting and abominable attacks” by the PPP, he said.
Reminding candidates to remain focused on the issues and continue to run a clean campaign, Leonard said, “It is clear that the PPP is afraid of being roundly defeated in the 2018 local government elections and 2020 general elections. Their recent court actions are geared to deter and dissuade competition and delay elections.”
Contending that the PPP hates local government elections, he said, the evidence is in the holding of one LGE over two decades with none being held during the 12 years of the Bharrat Jagdeo presidency.
On the focus Jagdeo places on the AFC at his weekly press conferences, Williams said, “The fact that Mr Jagdeo focuses so much time and attention on us as opposed to addressing some issues speaks to our credibility. It speaks to the fact that he views us as a threat as he should, because we are the party that brought about the minority government.”
It was the AFC that initiated the no-confidence motion in the Parliament in 2014 against former President Donald Ramotar that led to the electoral defeat of the last PPP/C government, Williams noted.
On the party’s source of funding for its campaign, he said, the party has gotten “lots of corporate support. Lots of private support. People turn up here and ask how can I help?”
People give even if it is $10, $20 or $100 or $1 million, he said, “We are the only party that audits for every dime.”
Also making a case for a seat on the Linden municipality was AFC constituency candidate Devin Sears who noted that the town faces many challenges including the municipality owing over $200 million to the National Insurance Scheme and the Guyana Revenue Authority.
The AFC councillors, he said, “will be lobbying to have those debts removed so the town can finally breathe.”
The biggest issue in Linden is unemployment, especially among young people.
Sears said one of the policies the AFC council will look at is a municipal arts and creative industry policy to address unemployment.