(from left); Director General at the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon; Minister of State, Dawn Hastings-Williams; President David Granger; Prime Ministerial Candidate, Khemraj Ramjattan, and AFC Leader, Raphael Trotman display the Coalition’s Manifesto …Coalition launches manifesto with provisions for cash transfers, range of social programmes …President says plans ambitious, but attainable THE A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), on Friday, unveiled its elections manifesto, which, according to President David Granger, is an “ambitious but attainable” plan which will serve as a contract to the people for the realisation of a ‘good life.’
The launch took place at the coalition’s campaign headquarters, located on Lamaha Street, where members of the media were addressed by President Granger; Prime Ministerial Candidate, Khemraj Ramjattan; AFC Leader, Raphael Trotman; Director General at the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon and Minister of State, Dawn Hastings-Williams. The public declaration document goes into detail on programmes related to governance, the economy, the environment, energy, education, social issues, security, international relations and technology.
A DELIBERATE PROCESS President Granger, in addressing the gathering at the launch, said that the manifesto is not an “election promise,” but a document birthed after careful thought and consideration. In fact, the APNU+AFC manifesto builds on the coalition’s core principles, established in September 2019 and with the Cummingsburg Accord, recently reviewed and revised as the binding document of the APNU+AFC.
President David Granger speaks to the media. Seated beside him is Prime Ministerial Candidate, Khemraj Ramjattan “That took a bit of time because we had to merge the views of the five parties in the APNU with those of the AFC…this paved the way for the Manifesto Committee to continue its work but we had the foresight to embed in the core principles and the Cummingsburg Accord, the elements which would be contained in the manifesto,” President Granger said. “It was a deliberate process and you’ll see today the culmination of that process. It was not something hasty; not a flash in the pan, but something that we’ve worked on for over six years by six different parties.”
The Guyanese leader and Presidential Candidate of the APNU+AFC noted that the document is not a “minority manifesto” but is agreeable to the coalition parties which represent the majority of citizens who voted the APNU+AFC into office in 2015. The Head of State thanked those within the six-member team who participated in the crafting of the multi-year plan.
CASH GRANTS The plan includes programmes that many Guyanese have been pushing for, which the party deemed feasible such as Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT); the definite elimination of the custodial sentence for possession of small quantities of marijuana; modern copyright legislation to protect intellectual property; the establishment of a Natural Gas Terminal; modern body-armour, tazers, body-cameras and more for the police; the establishment of a National Employment Data Bank; drone technology for farming and much more. The manifesto was also expected to be publically launched on Friday afternoon at the Stabroek Market Square and the document made available to the public. The President said that the document is not a “huge encyclopedia” but has been crafted in such a manner that the average Guyanese can read and understand for themselves.
AMBITITIOUS BUT ATTAINABLE Assessing the complete document, the President said that it is “very ambitious” but ought not to be mistaken for a “campaign manifesto”. He said that while some parties are often tempted to over promise to woo the public, the APNU+AFC has a strategy for each project put forward, some of which have already commenced.
Minister of Health, Volda Lawrence (first left) and Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally, browse through the completed manifesto (Adrian Narine photos) “It’s attainable. There’s always a temptation for people to over promise because some of them know they can’t win anyway so you might as well promise. But we have been very realistic, we have been in government and we’ve brought our experience to bear on crafting this manifesto. We will do what we promise to do; we will perform and not merely promise,” the President said.
Meanwhile, Ramjattan referred to the document as “a contract with the people,” which will ensure that revenue streams go to infrastructure, security, health, education and more. “It’s our contract with the people. Put us back in government and these are the things that we’re going to do and, certainly with the revenue streams, we are going to get it done,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Director General reminded that it was under the APNU+AFC government that Guyana was projected to become the fastest growing economy in the world; the world’s best eco-tourism destination and now an oil-producing nation.
“We are building a movement for all Guyanese to succeed and prosper,” Harmon said. “The people who support us – and it’s really getting to be almost all of Guyana now – are proud of our accomplishments. They are excited about the changes we have made and the changes which we’ll bring about as we move forward.”
Speaking too, Minister Trotman said that the manifesto lays the foundation for Guyana’s democracy to be strengthened and he remains a proud member of the David Granger-led administration. “Our Excellency has led us with dignity and with astounding leadership and we are proud to be able to present this manifesto to the people of Guyana today,” he said.
PROGRESSIVE AND AFFORDABLE Further describing the manifesto, President Granger stamped it as “progressive” as it presents implementable policies and plans for the next first five with the “Decade of development – 2020-2029” vision in mind.
On January 1, 2020 in a message to the nation, the President said that the memorable and momentous date marks the dawn of this decade which will usher in a new era of development and transformation in Guyana.
However, on Friday, he stated that most of all, the contents within the manifesto are “affordable” because the APNU+AFC knows how it will be financed. He stated: “We have made plans for the judicious and prudent use of our revenues to ensure that everything we promised will be funded. It will take a period of time over the next five years – everything will not happen in 2020 – but over the period you will see that funds will be provided and the people of this country will be satisfied.”
LINK ORIGINAL: Guyana Chronicle