Coalition launches ‘don’t stop progress’ re-election campaign
By Bibi Khatoon
The Coalition APNU+AFC set off its campaign for re-election on March 2 at Durban Park in Georgetown.
Supporters turned out in their thousands, travelling from all parts of the country to trump up the Coalition’s chances to once more take the seat of government.
The atmosphere was one of celebration as leaders of APNU and AFC, which signed an accord to contest the elections together, took to the stage to address those gathered.
This campaign launch was really about the re-election of Brigadier David Granger, whose government was toppled in a No-Confidence Motion (NCM) a year ago and brought about these early elections.
The President was introduced to the podium by Minister of State, Dawn Hastings-Williams. She praised Granger as a true patriot and statesman.
An energetic Granger, leader of the five-party coalition APNU, took to the stage on Friday night for the launch of the Coalition’s re-election campaign declaring “I am unbothered!”
It was a slogan made up by young people as he once struck a relaxed pose at the Pegasus Hotel, Kingston, Georgetown while opposition members were in the room calling for him to resign. It was the opposition that brought his government down in a No Confidence motion, forcing early elections on March 02.
Granger spoke of his Decade of Development which begins this year. He said his Government only needs ten years to be able to make all Guyanese comfortable.
“I have a vision for a good life of al Guyanese,” he said.
It was not long into the speech before he took a ‘jab’ at his opponent –Presidential Candidate of the People’s Progressive Party Irfaan Ali—noting “You’re dealing with honest people here. We have genuine people in the in the APNU+AFC, the fakes and the frauds are on the other side.”
The political leader was referring to scandals surrounding the authenticity of Ali’s certificates.
“You can fake all the certificate you what but you cannot fake experience and that is what I bring to Guyana,” he added.
The President said his party has a plan to push Guyana to its full potential. He said there is a plan for young people, a plan to ensure everyone is educated and every Guyanese is taken out of poverty through creating jobs.
The APNU+AFC Campaigned in 2015 on ending blackouts but was not able to do so in its first term in office.
Granger again said the Coalition will solve this problem, with a promise to convert the country’s energy usage to renewable forms.
“We are going to convert to solar, we’re going to convert to Gas, let us do that,” he said.
He said the country should not be returned to the former PPP government which he termed as corrupt.
“Your country is in good hands…Trust the coalition,” he noted.
As he promised in 2015, Granger promised to push Constitutional Reform but this time he said the task will be completed. He said: “We’re going to reform the constitution so that nonsense they try to do to us in the last 12 months don’t happen again.”
On December 21, 2018, a No-Confidence Motion was passed against the APNU+AFC Government in the National Assembly which significantly reduced its powers over the past 12 months. The motion needed a majority of 33 to be passed against the one-seat majority Government, according to the Constitution of Guyana. Therefore, when one AFC member voted with the opposition PPP, it was a win.
The Government used resources to the court to remain in power and on Friday night, Granger said: “Everything we did over the last twelve months was legal.”
“APNU+AFC deserves a second term,” he added noting that “they tried to cut us down but they can’t stop us.”
He told party supporters to continue putting their faith in the APNU+AFC like they did in 2015.
Curious enough, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo was not given stage time, and the man who succeeds him as the Prime Ministerial Candidate, Khemraj Ramjattan, did not get a formal introduction for that role. Ramjattan was introduced to the stage as Minister of Public Security and he praised the President.
“The APNU AFC coalition represents the best choice for Guyana… It represents hope and prosperity for all, not just a few…it is led by a fit and proper” leader, he said.
His message was for the party’s supporters was to ensure that the PPP, which he once served for many years, is not returned to office.
“Coalition is the only party and leadership that has a home for everyone, we don’t care for the race or religion you come from,” he said.
Ramjattan added: “I asked for your vote on March 2nd, one good term deserves another and don’t stop the progress.”
The AFC Leader said the Coalition will renew faith in the government’s ability to honour and respect women, create jobs, strengthen the foundation of the economy and strengthen all sectors for development, ensure transparency and accountability and complete the constitutional reform process which the coalition started.
He said the current government has achieved more in four years than the former government did in 23 years.
“Never in our history has any government deliver more in such short space of time,” Ramjattan said.
The AFC leader also promised that in the next term, his government will complete the East Coast- East Bank bypass road and will in the future bridge the Demerara, Essequibo and Corentyne rivers.
Ramjattan took the stage after AFC youth leader, Juretha Fernandes and continued the campaign for youth votes. He said the coalition will do “far more” to encourage, engage and empower youths during its next term in office.
“We will have a resplendent revenue stream to provide what is needed,” he said.
He noted that the APNU+AFC, which also campaigned on youths in 2015, will ensure young people are able to participate in formulating policies at the highest level of Government.
He promised increased scholarships and technology to build more skills our oil and gas industry,
“We want to wean the next generation from cane –cutting. A place the PPP want to put them back,” he noted.
Fernandes in her speech earlier tried to appeal to the youth voters which turned out in their numbers at the rally which also included performances from local and Trinidadian artiste.
“This coalition embodies a hope for a new Guyana,” she said, adding that “A vote for the coalition is a vote to continue the change and transformation which has been taking place since 2015.”
She said it is time young people take up the reins and embrace the Government in its efforts to build a new Guyana.