by Zena Henry
With mere hours to go before National and Regional elections 2015, the A Partnership for National Unity +Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition held its last lap rally Saturday May 9, with a massive turnout of several thousands to devour the Square of the Revolution and its immediate environs.
The Coalition’s theme of “change” to usher in a new era in the country’s political dynamic is the force that party leaders and those who have endorsed it urged Guyanese to drive them into removing the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) which has ruled the country for some 23 years.
Promises and a change in policy were reiterated on the platform, but the issue of reclaiming power as citizens of Guyana and eradicating the scourge of race division was the advice of the children of the nation’s founding fathers and presidents; the late Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham, some 50 years since any member of the two families stood on the same political platform.
Burnham’s daughter, Ulele Burnham endorsed the party for the first time before urging Guyanese to vote for them and to also keep them in line after putting them in power. She advised that citizens work with each other for the results they want, but when that become a reality, “do not get de-mobbed happy that it is all over. Do not just hand over your power to another set of people and then expect them to do things for you. You keep mobilized and keep showing the leaders of the Coalition that it was you, not they, who worked the magic.”
Burnham said that Guyana’s greatest need is a broad based independent and non-aligned patriotic front government. Quoting from one of the nation’s national heros, Dr. Walter Rodney she said, “No ordinary Afro Guyanese, no ordinary Indo-Guyanese can afford to be mislead by the myth of race. Race saves no one and should condemn no one.” She said that one can find no fault in denouncing race-hate, but to Guyana it is only a promise without change, “it is up to you to turn them into a reality. It is only you that will secure an APNU+ AFC victory on Monday 11.”
Terming it ‘Magic Monday’, Burnham told citizens that only helping the Coalition to win can there be a real possibility of ending this “long and tortured history of a broken Guyana.”
Cheddi Jagan Jr., son of the late president also urged Guyanese to help remove the “corrupt PPP so that all can get a slice of the Guyanese pie.” “The Coalition is the answer. Burnham and Jagan knew that, and David and Moses know it too. We don’t want dem people who believe in majoritarian rule. We want we slice of the Guyanese pie,” he insisted to a roaring wave of green and yellow.
Jagan said that the Coalition was the dream of Burnham and Jagan and it didn’t happen, “but we are going to make it happen now, come May 11.” “Get yourself together, be peaceful,” he urged the crowd as they prepare for Election Day.
Presidential candidate David Granger in his final address on the campaign trail reminded Guyanese of all the things that the Coalition promised within the 100 day window after winning the election, but added a new feature of a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) which will hold all the profits from the country’s natural resources to finance the country’s future. The promise came on the backdrop of recent announcement of a possible oil find in a north western area offshore Guyana.
Apart from promises of improved education and the establishment of a Technical institute and an agriculture institute in every region, Granger said “APNU+AFC will introduce a special fund, a fund which the sticky hands of ministers cannot touch called the Sovereign Wealth Fund… putting the profits coming out of gold and diamond, timber, petroleum and any other mineral discovered in this country… to benefit future generations.”
He said ordinary Guyanese will not be poor again and urged Guyanese to take back their country come Election Day.
The Coalition’s Prime Ministerial candidate Moses Nagamootoo in asking to be voted for said, “You know me. I can’t lie to you,” when reminding that the PPP’s PM candidate is unknown. After reminding supporters to keep their peace and going on with the promises the party has in store, he said, “the fate of a democratic Guyana is in your hands and you will decide Monday if you will strangle democracy, if you elect Ramotar.”