December 11, 2020

For Immediate Release to All Media Houses

AFC Press Statements from Press Conference of December 11, 2020

An Autocracy Has Emerged-Khemraj Ramjattan

The AFC calls attention to the continuing disregard of democracy, good governance and social cohesion as witnessed by the ongoing wanton dismissal of capable and qualified Guyanese, who are obviously being dismissed because of their ethnicity and perceived party affiliation.

The unconscionable and unlawful detention of Haitians, reminiscent of actions at the US/Mexico border is a frightening reality that justice in Guyana is about the colour of your skin and the texture of your hair. Their subsequent release is a vindication that the allegations of criminal conduct made by AG Nandlall were all fabricated and false. Compensation must be sought and awarded by the Court as a formal restitution for their unlawful incarceration.

The admission that Ms. Waldron was a dual citizen at the time of being named a Minister and MP, in blatant disregard for the constitution, are frightening signs, to say the least, and tells us that we are now in a full blown autocracy that is using its one seat majority to do whatever it wants.

This regime is operating under a mistaken belief that the western powers are enamoured by them and therefore willing to turn a blind-eye to the daily atrocities and violations and that one seat is equal to 100% of the votes. Where are all the hypocritical champions of democracy here and elsewhere? They have now been unmasked as being more interested only in accessing and controlling the oil wealth than in seeing justice and democracy in Guyana.

We expect to see the Government and Parliament address this situation with proof that the Minister was sworn in again and most importantly that she pays financial penalties our constitution in article 58 (1) so carefully outlines. I think this is in the range of $200,000. The principle must be upheld. These are characteristics and instances of blatant disregard and disdain being shown to the Constitution, the people and the tenets of good governance.

In relation to the trawler licenses issue, I as Shadow Minister of Agriculture have filed four questions to the Clerk of the National Assembly on the 7th December 2020, which have to be answered within 21 days by Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Zulficar Mustapha.

These are:

1. To whom were the two new trawler licenses issued to for years 2020-2021 by the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries Department?

2. Was there any due diligence conducted on these licencee(s)?

3. If there was any such due diligence done, could the Minister provide copies to this

Honourable House of the said due diligence Report(s)?

4. Was the Guyana Association of Trawler Owners and Seafood Processors Association (GATOSP) consulted in any way prior to the grant of the two trawler licenses?

Concerns on Local Government and Parliamentary issues-David Patterson

On the Local Government front the AFC continues to be disturbed by the PPP’s programme of establishing interim management committees across the country and to funnel funds to regions through this mechanism and not through the legal RDC/NDC structures which reflects the will of our people who in the last local government elections chose their representatives-the foundation of the democracy we like to talk about.

The PPP’s non-convening of the Regional Democratic Council of Region 8, Potaro-Siparuni, because of the known reality that they will not control the region, is a shameful disregard of the rights of the people of Region 8 to have their elected officials preside over their affairs.

The AFC is left with no choice now, but to pursue legal action to compel the convening of the Region 8, Regional Democratic Council and the parliamentary committees.

In the Parliament, the Alliance For Change continues to note the great travesty on the fundamental principles of any democracy and that is the functioning of Parliament. The refusal of the PPP, and their hand-picked Speaker, to convene the Committees of the National Assembly is now an obscenity that stinks to the high heavens.

In the case of the absence of parliamentary committees, attention is drawn to the fact that three of our Caricom brothers and sisters have had elections after August 2 – Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and it is not surprising to know that all three have convened the full Parliament and all Committees, which have named members and are meeting. In the case of Guyana, the failure of the regime and the Speaker to convene these committees after four months, for the necessary oversight as prescribed by the laws and constitution to be done, is an outrage. Covid cannot be used as an excuse because on a daily

basis the Parliament Office is arranging participation in different international fora by Zoom. Yesterday’s handing over of the Auditor General’s report was a charade of the worst order as there is no Public Accounts Committee in place to peruse that report. What a joke!.

AFC pledges support to City Council.Calls in Government to do same – Cathy Hughes

The Alliance For Change (AFC) extends congratulations to Pandit Ubraj Narine and Alfred Mentore on their re-election to the offices of Mayor and Deputy Mayor of the City of Georgetown respectively, and pledges to continue its full support to the Georgetown Mayor and City Council.

The AFC notes the many challenges facing the Georgetown M&CC not least among which is, coping with the covid 19 pandemic. This pandemic has added to the financial burden on an already indebted and cash strapped City Council. The pandemic has placed the added burden of ensuring that municipal markets and other facilities operated by the Council are sanitised on a regular basis and providing sanitising supplies for the staff and customers of these facilities. The AFC applauds the efforts of the City Council under the stewardship of Mayor Narine to keep safe the residents of Georgetown and the thousands more who visit to conduct business or for pleasure.

The Party recalls the cordial relationship that existed between the City Council and the Coalition Government that led to close collaboration on many projects resulting in improvements to the city and its maintenance. It should be recalled that immediately on assuming office in 2015, the coalition government partnered with the City Council to clear outfall channels and drainage canals. This provided relief from flooding that was being experienced in many wards of the city and as a result, December 2015 ended up being probably the cleanliest shopping environment in over two decades.

The AFC is aware that that the Mayor has approached central government for financial assistance to aid the Council in carrying out its mandate. To date such assistance has not been provided. Excuses that there must be an audit if the Council before money can be provided are just that – excuses. We wish to remind the PPP that Georgetown is the seat of government, it is home to the diplomatic community, Guyana’s busiest commercial districts and the centre from which most businesses are conducted.

The PPP has habitually sought to stifle the M&CC by withholding of support. The AFC notes that they are now joined by some unconscionable business owners who are refusing to pay their taxes. This is wrong. The AFC calls on Central Government to end its vendetta of non support for the Mayor and City Council and for businesses to honour their obligation to the Council. End.