AFC hopes oil revenue will help improve relations with APNU

Last Updated on Thursday, 2 February 2017, 14:58 by Denis Chabrol

The Alliance For Change (AFC) hopes that the generation of oil revenues and improved economic performance will help  ease tensions with A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) over demands for increased jobs and improved standard of living.

AFC Chairman, Khemraj Ramjattan said the “very sound” relationship between his party and APNU has been unjustifiably criticized, but acknowledged that the need for more jobs has been a thorny matter for the almost two-year old coalition-led administration.

Ramjattan forecasts an “extraordinarily brighter economic and financial” future backed by oil revenues that are expected to flow by 2020 would  “in a way end all of these difficulties that we have.”

“The difficulties we have is lots of jobs people want. People want jobs and that sometimes is a difficult thing. That’s the frank thing about it and people then make all kinds of remarks that we are not doing this, we are not doing that and that is what sometimes has an element of destructiveness about it and jealousies and petty jealousies,” he told a news conference when asked what he would like to see in a new accord with APNU.

Supporters of both parties have expressed concern that despite the fact that they had campaigned heavily for the coalition, they have not been rewarded with jobs and contracts. Instead, they have said that only a few elected officials have been benefiting from the promised “good life.”

With the Cummingsburg Accord slated to expire in 2018, Ramjattan hopes that APNU and AFC can hammer out ways of improving relations. “There will be areas that we can deal with at the engagement level far better when there disputes of some sort that could resolve quicker, that should happen,” he said.

One of the APNU+AFC’s campaign promises had been increased jobs for youths,  a 20 percent hike in salaries for soldiers and police as well as a similar increase for teachers.

He stressed that he is confident that the APNU+AFC coalition would be better able to address various demands. “I believe in all honesty that those difficulties and challenges and constraints that we presently have in this relationship will all be met

American oil giant, ExxonMobil, has found more than two billion barrels of oil offshore Guyana.  The company has already contracted Dutch-headquartered company, SBM Offshore, to provide a Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading facility (FPSO).