This declaration was described by the political pundits as the AFC “getting ready for the possibility of am early election”.
Read the full text of the declaration below.
Recognising the role of the People of Whim, on the Corentyne Coast, Berbice, in the dynamic, political change in Guyana by breaking from racial voting and rejecting inefficient and corrupt governance in the elections of 2011.
Believing that all the good people of Whim and the rest of Berbice, on both sides of the Berbice River – from Orealla to Abary- deserve decent and honest leadership, better living conditions and a secured future.
Conscious of our responsibilities as a national party answerable to the people of Guyana at home and abroad;
Recalling the commitments we made to the electorate during the 2006 and 2011 Regional and General Elections;
Motivated by the cries of the people for jobs, protection from criminals, reliable electricity supplies, safer hospitals and better health care, quality education, security for farming, and safeguard for human rights;
Affirming our commitment to the fair, just and equitable development of all peoples of this country;
Accepting that there are high levels of poverty in rural areas and Amerindian villages;
Aware that the PPP/C administration continues to underspend on projects that directly impact on the rural poor, especially in areas such as Berbice;
Acknowledging that less than 14 percent of household heads in rural coastal communities have achieved a secondary or higher level of education;
Cognizantthat about 41 percent of households under the poverty line are employed in agriculture;
Believing that there is little hope for improvement of the working class and the vulnerable under a PPP/C government;
Recognising that a good start was made towards more progressive leadership in Guyana when the people of Region Eight voted in the majority for the Alliance For Change (AFC) and that as one of the geographical areas that created the new dispensation, the onus is on the AFC to also lead in Berbice by offering proposals as the Government In Waiting.
Fully convinced that more than ever the AFC must fill the leadership vacuum in Guyana and that together with all the peoples of this country, we can move Guyana forward to realise its true potential as the bread basket of the Caribbean, the destination of choice for naturalists and a model for sustainable, ‘green’ development and a land of opportunities for entrepreneurs and young people;
The National Executive Council of the Alliance For Change (AFC) met in Whim Village, Corentyne, Berbice on Saturday, February 9, 2013, and Declaresthat :–
- Berbicewill be the pace-setter in the fight for multi-racial tolerance and national unity where people would continue to reject voting along ethnic lines.
- Attainment of tertiary level education for residents of rural areas must be a priority.
- Protection and promotion of the livelihoods of farmers, agro-processors and all persons in the agriculture sector must be guaranteed.
- Reducing poverty through the creation of jobs with living wage must be ensured.
- Adequate social development programmes must be in place to address senseless killings, suicide, drugs addiction, alcoholism and other social ills.
And in so declaring, the Alliance For Change hereby proposes:
Chapter 1: Economic opportunities/ Jobs/ Agriculture/ Poverty alleviation
- Rapid economic growth by transforming rural subsistence economy to one that manufactures value-added goods and services.
- Sustainable power supply through co-generation, alternative energy supplies including agro-energy from the waste from the sugar cane and hydro-electricity facility to power our industrialization.
- · Increased the value chain in the sugar industry to produce ethanol to fulfill an E-10 policy (10% ethanol in every gallon of petrol) and refined packaged sugar and less raw sugar.
- · Mechanization not to displace jobs but to train and upgrade cane cutters to operate machines at a better salary with better working conditions. The back-breaking job of cut and load must incrementally end!
- Expand and make available arable land, pasture and fish-farm areas for diversified farming, fishing and animal husbandry. We will put an end to land-grabbing and the best arable land going to cronies of the government.
- Work with world experts to help the rice sector export less paddy and un-processed cargo rice and more value-added rice products such as packaged rice, rice cereals, rice cakes, rice noodles, instant rice, rice pasta etc. to create 3,000 new jobs in the rice sector, many of which will be based in Berbice.
- · Development of cane sugar to give new boost to the alcohol industry to produce our world class rum for bigger markets and on a much larger scale.
- · Research in use of sugar-cane based bio-chemicals in cosmetics and detergents, and encourage leading international research companies to invest in bio-plastics using our local resources.
- Exploration of untapped bauxite deposits in the Berbice area.
- Pursuit ventures in agro-processing with a focus on creating jobs for youths in New Amsterdam.
- Re-activation of petroleum drilling to tap the potential of Guyana’s off-shore capacity and simultaneously train and equip young persons to fill jobs in this sector.
- Boost agricultural tourism / eco-tourism with scheduled visits to rural tropical farms as part of eco-tourism packages.
- Equiping all primary and secondary schools with fully functional computer laboratories with access of all students at these levels. Computers ought to be assembled in Guyana by Guyanese for Guyanese, to create in excess of 2,000 new jobs with at least one centre inBerbice.
- Building two new Regional Mechanical & Electrical Workshops at the Hampshire and Bath Settlement Industrial Estates to create at least 400 new jobs for young apprentices in the County.
- Offeringstart-up financing to graduate apprentices to develop new small business in areas such as auto and heavy duty repairs, welding, bodywork, electrical work, air conditioning etc.
- Putting 600 unemployed, poor Berbicians to work again by creating a Berbice Parks and Landscaping Company that will clean up Berbice of all garbage, up- keep existing parks and create new play parks for the children in the communities.
- Establish a Fisheries Surveillance and Enforcement Coordination Committee to help the fishermen including those in Berbice combat high sea piracy.
- Work with a private sector partner to set up a fishmeal plant to support the livestock Industry in Berbice.
- Make the East and West Berbice River region a focus area for livestock development.
Chapter 2: Infrastructure
- Upgrade of the East Bank Berbice Road to a Highway.
- Build a deep water harbour in the Berbice River with a sugar storage facility to bring new economic energy to New Amsterdam.
- Ensure that the Skeldon Sugar Factory is fully functional by using the best technical resources to correct defects in the factory.
Chapter 3: Crime -fighting
- Reform the culture in the Guyana Police Force to ensure an attitudinal change that directs members to serve the needs of the people with dignity and with respect for the preservation of life.
- Establish an Anti-Crime Unit (ACU) comprising GDF and Police in all Police Divisions to confront violent criminals.
- Start a Police/School partnership programme to work with student to build stronger relationship between the Police and the Villages.
- Fund programmes at the University of Guyana campus in Berbiceto educate police officers in fighting crime, and offer Diplomas in Prosecution and Para-Legal services.
- Provide members of the Police Force with adequate pay and allowances, and simultaneously enforcing a ‘Zero-tolerance Policy’ on corruption involving law enforcement officers.
Chapter 4: Domestic violence / Suicide / Alcohol& Drug abuse
- Train and empower the Police Force to respond more effectively to domestic violence.
- Oﬀer financial grants to Non-Governmental Organisations to work with the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security to assist women who suffer from abuse, orphaned children, families who have suffered due to suicide of a member, alcoholism, youth delinquency, etc.
- Reintroduce School Councillors at all secondary schools.
- Oﬀer financial grants to faith based organizations to work with schools and communities on moral revival, training on social issues such as teenage pregnancy, suicide counselling, career counselling, and musical and cultural training;
- Renovate and upgrade all community centres and grounds and re-activate libraries and clubs to be managed by people’s committees.
- Promote non-governmental radio stations to be owned and operated by Berbicians for the educational, information and cultural needs of Berbicians.
The AFC recognises that whilst a mini-development plan is needed to offer hope and optimism to Berbicians, there is also need for immediate action, for which we accordingly resolved:
Be it resolved that the AFC demands the reduction in tolls for all forms of public transportation crossing the Berbice Bridge.
Be it resolved that the AFC demands a 10 percent increase in wages and salaries for all public servants effective January 2013.
Be it resolved that that the AFC insists that Local Government Elections be advanced as a matter of priority.
Be it further resolved that the Public Procurement Commission be established immediately in keeping with the Constitution.