‘We are not ashamed; we remain relevant’ – AFC

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By Devina Samaroo

“We are not ashamed, we have no reason to be,” says Alliance For Change (AFC) General Secretary, Marlon Williams in response to claims that the Party was “demolished” at the recent polls.

AFC performed poorly at Monday’s Local Government Elections (LGE) based on preliminary results which show that the Party barely scraped a few seats in key areas like Georgetown, Bartica and Whim.

Unlike the 2016 LGE, the AFC contested this election without its coalition partner, in a move that was expected to truly assess its support across the country.

In fact, Party Chairman Khemraj Ramjattan had announced in August 2018 that contesting alone would prove to naysayers that the AFC was not dead.

But Williams believes the results show that the AFC has remained “constant” when compared to the figures from the 2011 General and Regional Elections.

“Of course, there were some people that expected the AFC to get a higher percentage based on the traditional expectation of people wanting you to move forward … but we remain constant, that’s a very good thing,” the General Secretary stated during an interview with the News Room on Wednesday.

Williams admitted that the Party itself had expected better results, especially in Berbice.

“Of course we would have hoped to do much better across the Corentyne,” he said, noting however that many of the persons who voted continued to do so along traditional party lines.

It was expected that the AFC would have won significantly in Whim – the hometown of Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo – but the Party was severely whipped by the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C).

The AFC General Secretary attributed most of its losses to the “preposterous” voter turnout and the lack of understanding among the populace about Local Government Elections.

He hopes that after several rounds of these elections, more persons will participate and vote based on merit.

Williams further asserted that the results show that the AFC has maintained its status of being the “balance of power” in the country’s political arena and that it has come a far way since it was established in 2005.

“We were told that we were wishy-washy and that we would never surmount to anything and here we are, based on what we are seeing, we are maintaining the trend of being the balance of power,” he stated.

“We have obviously proven that we are a formidable force and we are very relevant,” Williams added.

He rejected claims that key figures in the AFC have gone silent in light of the Party’s poor performance.

“The AFC wanted to hold back on its views and analysis of the election until we have a more broader picture of the results so we can be a little more objective in what we say,” Williams explained.

In the lead up to the elections, the AFC hosted regular press conferences, almost every week, to update the public on its preparations for the polls.

The AFC contested in 38 local authority areas but had its eyes fixed on dominating the town councils in Linden and Bartica. However, those municipalities were won by the APNU.

APNU also recorded a landslide victory in Georgetown – the country’s largest municipality – copping 21 seats, with the PPP gaining seven and the AFC a mere two.

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