AFC capitulates: Contesting in small number of constituencies
The Alliance For Change (AFC) on Wednesday announced plans to contest only 38 Local Authority Areas (LAA) at the upcoming Local Government Elections (LGE) set for November 12.
This announcement follows previous statements made by the party, where they had initially said the AFC had planned to contest the elections in more than 50 areas.
AFC member Michael Lenard told a media conference that his party is now contesting in less Local Government Areas than it had intended earlier in the year.
The minority party in the coalition Government blamed a number of issues for the decision not to contest more areas, including political bullying and issues with
“We had intention to contest a lot more, but we had issues in those places,” Lenard explained, noting that in one instance the Police were called in to address the issue.
The party’s campaign manager, David Patterson said nevertheless, he is satisfied with the position the AFC is in at the moment and they will continue to work hard to prepare for LGE.
Asked to name the specific areas in which the AFC pulled out of, Patterson refused to say but added, “I like to concentrate on where I am fighting as opposed to where I am not.”
He continued, “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.”
Just last week, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) through one of its constituency candidates in Berbice filed legal proceedings against the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and another individual to have the names fraudulently affixed to the backer’s lists in Berbice removed.
The court document names Shafraz Beekham as the applicant, along with the Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield and Orlando Christopher Persaud as the respondents.
The document outlines that the challenge is seeking to have the names of 49 other electors appearing on list of backers in support of the AFC constituency candidates removed.
It noted that the submission was made to Persaud on September 21, 2018, in Whim Bloomfield, Berbice LAA, for the LGE 2018. The PPP is challenging on the grounds that the said decision is unlawful, illegal, and unreasonable and is in violation of the Local Authorities (Elections) Act.
The document also cites Persaud’s alleged refusal to withdraw the applicant’s name and the names of 49 other electors. It said unless the names are withdrawn, the election in the LAA would be tainted with “illegality and fraud.” It also noted that Persaud’s refusal happened before the expired deadline on September 26, 2018.
The matter is fixed for hearing before Justice Navindra Singh today. The attorneys representing Beekham are Adrian Anamayah, Ian Anamayah and Anil Nandlall.
Patterson also announced his support for the hosting of public debates among constituency candidates vying for positions within their Local Government organisations. He expressed his party’s willingness to participate in any such event as the time draws closer for the LGE.
“We do feel 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,” he added.
However, Patterson says the AFC will not seek to organise any such debates itself, as it may be viewed as a strategy to dominate. Nevertheless, the party said it is willing to participate in any event organised by any civil society group or organisation in Guyana.
The party’s campaign manager was clear, however, as to the conditions under which AFC candidates will participate. He said the party would prefer having these debates hosted in the larger constituencies, rather than smaller ones spread across the country.