AFC pulls out of Local Gov’t race in over 10 Local Authority Areas
-Proposes debate on policies, community issues
By Bibi Khatoon
The Alliance For Change (AFC) has dropped out of contesting between 10 to 15 Local Authority Areas (LAA) at the upcoming Local Government Elections.
At a press conference on Wednesday, AFC Member, Michael Leonard and Campaign Manager, David Patterson said the reason for the withdrawal has to do with bullying and communication problems.
“There were some issues with the local authorities, we had one of our candidates bodily removed because of some issue with the returning officer,” Leonard told reporters at the party’s headquarters in Georgetown.
Patterson added: “it’s not only that issue…communication issues and those things like that.” The campaign manager did not want to go into details.
Patterson disclosed that the AFC is now contesting in 38 LAA, but refused to state the initial amount in which the party was contesting.
Patterson, who is also the Minister of Public Infrastructure and one of the party’s executive members, refused to name the areas which the party pulled out of.
Instead, he said, “I like to concentrate on where I am fighting as opposed to where I am not.”
“Whatever it is, we are satisfied with where we are. We are in the townships as well. We will be putting our full efforts in wherever we are.”
According to a statement from the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on September 20, ahead of nominations day, the AFC registered for all Municipalities and Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs).
AFC is fielding more than 600 candidates at the November 12 local elections. The majority of the candidates are below the age of 40 and are new to the world of politics.
However, they are being urged to keep their campaign respectful and reject any name calling or other forms of rivalries.
“While I want my candidates to be fired up and ready… I would like them to avoid any sort of conflict with any other candidate or party,” Patterson urged.
Expressing his belief that the AFC, which is going to the polls without its coalition partner, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), is “the superior choice,” Patterson floated the idea of public debates to allow the candidates to prove themselves.
“We do feel that there should be a debate among candidates, particularly, in the larger constituencies and municipalities –like persons in the constituencies in Georgetown, Linden, Bartica, New Amsterdam, Rose Hall – should have a public debate…on policies and positions within communities.”
The AFC on Wednesday presented two young persons who are contesting the areas of Good Fortuin, West Bank of Demerara, Vickram Vieira and Bryan Nobrega who is contesting constituency 12 (Tucville – North Ruimveldt) in Georgetown.
Vieira said he opted to vie for the post so he can bring change to his community he said has suffered from lack of resources over the years.
“We want to demonstrate that change to our young people…the previous administration has been in charge of the region and they get the position and just sit back, fold their hands and sing Kumbayah,” he said.
His vision entails the development of youths through the rehabilitation of the Community’s playground, which he believes will encourage more youths to get involved in sport and stay away from drugs and alcohol.
He also wants to advocate for better water quality in the community along with other improved services.
Nobrega, on the other hand, said he wants to see flooding in his area reduced, to acquire grants and work with private businesses to develop his community.
“There has not been any development in the community and I would like to know why,” he said.
“There are things you can do, even if you were being starved by the central government.”
The current Mayor of Georgetown, Patricia Chase-Green is the representative on the Mayor and City Council for the area of Tucville – North Ruimveldt.
Editor’s note: This story initially stated Constituencies but was later corrected to Local Authority Areas.