GEORGETOWN –– Hundreds assembled in at the Savannah Suite of the Pegasus Hotel yesterday, to witness the grand launching of the election campaign for A Partnership For National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change, now branded APNU+AFC with the slogan It Is Time.
The room was well decorated in yellow and green balloons and garlands, representing the colours of the two political parties. The proceedings were moderated by APNU’s Dawn Hastings, who paved the way for warm welcomes and supporting messages from representatives of the various party members of the APNU.
Following this was a stirring session of cultural musical renditions that featured the Dubraj Tassa Group, alongside the Otishka Drummers, a steel pan medley by Detroy Dey and an inspiring performance of two national songs by the Circle Of Love. The haunting melodious sounds of the Yoruba Singers served to intensify the mood of unity that encapsulated the event.
Hastings then introduced prime ministerial candidate of the APNU+AFC, Moses Nagamootoo, to deliver the Unity Call. The politician articulated to his attentive audience that he was too humbled by the ambience created.
A cool and collected Nagamootoo said that yesterday marked another giant step towards national reconciliation. As he highlighted that Guyana needed unity, he recollected that when many saw the outcome of the talks between APNU and AFC, they had responded: “It is high time.”
It is time, the prime ministerial candidate said, that true meaning was given to the sacrifices and struggles of “our people, and of the generations living in the colony before or remaining in Guyana after Independence”.
The lawyer reminded his audience that since 1955, a single occurrence called “the split” had wounded the Guyanese civilization. He said it occasioned political and ethnic division. But yesterday, he stressed, represented a conscious step to putting the healing balm to the scars of that division.
Nagamootoo said the restoration of electoral democracy in 1992 had started a hopeful process, but it did not bring healing. After a few years, he said, it saw a new cycle of autocratic, one-party rule. He said that the promise of 1992 faded, and then became distorted in a “frenzy of sleaze, corruption and complicity in criminal enterprises”.
The politician added that the gang of betrayers had derailed Guyana’s democracy.
By 2011, the AFC vice-chairman recalled that the electorate had condemned the pseudo-leaders to minority status and though they had tried to duck and dodge, eventually they had buckled under pressure.
“These new, premature elections are the final, desperate refuge of a cowardly, minority clique,” said the prime ministerial candidate.
March 4, he said, also represented a new wave in Guyana’s democratic ambitions and would see the injection of new life into the decaying political system, and transformation of governance by ending “winner-takes-all-politics”.
The APNU+AFC alliance, he stressed, would defeat the monster of racism and overcome the campaign of fear.
Nagamootoo asserted that over the past 54 years of his life in the political arena, he had worked tirelessly for the day when a broad coalition, a “rainbow coalition”, could be possible. The APNU+AFC team, he said, had achieved not only a political union, but had outlined plans and programmes for investment, growth and the development of a new Guyana.
The lawyer said that going forward, new meaning must be given to the Guyanese creed One People, One Nation, One Destiny. He said, too, that from this day onward, Guyana must embody the very essence of a line by Alexandre Dumas in his novel The Three Musketeers: “One for all; and all for one.”
“I still remember the fleeting moments of meeting David Granger when we were both in short pants, in my native village Whim, and we crossed path on our way to the Auchlyne Scots School. Our lives would have taken us to different paths –– his to a career in teaching, in the police and in the military; and mine in journalism, politics and law.
“But if as boys we shared a village and a school, tell me, why today can we not share in common our country, our Guyana home?”
This earned Nagamootoo a standing ovation and an almost three-minute round of applause, as members of the audience shouted: “Yes, Naggy, preach it!”
The AFC vice-chairman said he had no doubt the APNU+AFC alliance would be victorious and his school days comrade Granger would be Guyana’s next president.
“I have every reason to feel that as president, David will be just and fair, and that he will put Guyana first, and help restore our beloved country to the place of respect and dignity in the Caribbean and the rest of the world.”
Nagamootoo said the APNU+AFC alliance had noted how utterly depraved the current administration had become by shamelessly misusing public funds.
Nagamootoo then declared May 11 Deliverance Day from the current administration.
Said he: “It is time, in the lyrics of Bob Marley, we too get together and feel all right.”
And when the Marley hit was played he wasted no time in inviting his wife and the Grangers to the platform to share in the moment of happiness and unity and even a few rhythmic moves as the entire audience sang along.