AFC wants oil revenue used for free education

Delegates who attended the AFC’s National Executive Committee meeting yesterday at the Umana Yana in Kingston. (AFC photo)

With first oil expected by year end or early 2020, the Alliance for Change (AFC) yesterday said it supports the use of the expected revenue to provide free education for nursery to university as well as housing for citizens.

This was one of the decisions coming out of the party’s first National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting for 2019, which was held yesterday at the Umana Yana in Kingston, Georgetown.

According to a press release issued after the meeting, a motion was unanimously approved by the NEC to “unequivocally support free education from nursery to university and facilitate housing for all Guyanese with revenues to be derived from oil.”

Additionally, the NEC unanimously approved a motion for the APNU+AFC coalition to be maintained as per the Cummingsburg Accord for the next general and regional elections, whenever they are held. Party Chairman Khemraj Ramjattan and executive Catherine Hughes recently signaled that the AFC would be going into the next election again as part of the coalition.

In addition to the approving the motion regarding the maintenance of the Accord, the release said the NEC renewed the party’s commitment to constitutional reform and recognised the need for greater and meaningful involvement and participation of young people in the next Coalition Government.

Further, it added the party recognised the need for greater empowerment and the provision of more opportunities for the young people of Guyana.

According to the release, party leader Raphael Trotman, in his address stated that the party had listened to the people and heard what they have had to say. He related that the Guyanese public holds the AFC to a “different political standard than that of the traditional political parties” and acknowledged that the AFC “did make some mis-steps in government” and must work harder to deliver for the Guyanese people. The Leader also reaffirmed his confidence in the David Granger/Moses Nagamootoo leadership to guide the Coalition Government in the period ahead, the release said.

Over many months since the May, 2015 general elections, members of the AFC have called for changes to the Cummingsburg Accord.

The Cummingsburg Accord formed the basis for the winning APNU+AFC ticket at the 2015 general elections. The Accord was signed for a minimum period of three years and a maximum of five years.

After the 2016 local government elections, AFC members had complained that APNU had hogged the majority of the seats on local councils.

At the AFC NEC meeting in early November, 2017, members had mandated that party leader Raphael Trotman ask for a revision of the accord by its 3rd anniversary: February 14th. The AFC then attempted to secure an accord with APNU for the 2018 local government elections but was rebuffed because of its demands. It had to face the electorate on its own and suffered major defeats, which analysts say has weakened its bargaining power.

Weeks later Trotman had informed this newspaper when contacted that he would have “soon” written to APNU.

“No letter has been written but one will be sent soon with the expectation that the parties to the coalition could discuss the accord and determine if it is to be renewed and extended, and if so, to agree ways of strengthening it for the future,” Trotman had said when contacted.

The anniversary came and went and the decision to write was apparently deferred.

Last November, it was revealed that the two parties had signalled their intention to go into the 2020 general elections with the same Cummingsburg Accord, unless there are calls for changes to be made.

In its press release yesterday, the AFC said its first NEC meeting for 2019 was expanded to include regional, municipal and Neighbourhood Democratic Council councillors and saw over 110 delegates in attendance from all ten administrative regions in Guyana, along with the Diaspora.

It further noted that Ramjattan, in his address, outlined for the NEC meeting the legal matters pertaining to the December 21st vote on the no-confidence motion against government and underscored that the APNU+AFC government is legitimate, credible and proper and will not engage in the dereliction of duty by not pursuing the matter to the fullest extent of the law.”

AFC member Charrandass Persaud voted in favour of the opposition-sponsored motion, which may lead to fresh polls. Persaud, who is currently in Canada, was subsequently recalled as a parliamentarian and expelled from the party. Currently there are three cases before the High Court emanating from the passage of the motion.

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