AFC is still a third force to be reckoned with despite not contesting Local Government Elections- says Ramjattan

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The Alliance for Change’s non-participation in the upcoming Local Government Elections will not bring down the party in any way, shape, or form for the 2025 General and Regional Elections- This is the contention of the Leader of Alliance for Change, Khemraj Ramjattan who has maintained that his party is still quite relevant. 

In response to critics who have alleged that the Alliance for Change (AFC) has been reduced, Ramjattan said the party’s decision to exclude itself from the March, 2023 Local Government Elections is in keeping with its principal position which states that a new voters’ list should be used. 

He told reporters recently that the party does not fear that its decision would negatively impact its support base at the 2025 elections it is aiming to contest. 

“We feel that holding on to our principal position is going to enhance the support base of the people in our party and we don’t feel that it is going to be anything negative at all,” he said. 

Ramjattam explained that in local government elections, there are a lot of clusters of Neighbourhood Democratic Councils that are supportive of the two major political parties but the AFC will undertake groundwork to secure its support.

“We, as a matter of fact do what is called, in my own local parlance, a flaking-off of a lot of the areas in and around the country. That is what has created this party, what will get it going and maintain its relevance as a third force in the country,” he stated. 

Last week, the Alliance for Change submitted a call for the postponement of local government elections for eight months pending the establishment of a credible voters’ list. The party also indicated that after much debate, the members decided that they will not participate in the elections without changes to the list of electors. 

A sanitized voters’ list and the use of biometric devices to prevent instances of voter impersonation are among the demands of the party to the Ali-led administration. 

Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo has indicated that no changes can be made to the voters’ list because of a ruling Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George-Wiltshire made three years ago. 

On the subject of biometrics, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira has maintained that there is a need for more clarity from the opposition on what kind of biometric devices are needed and their usefulness. 

“We have biometrics already in our law, we practice biometrics in terms of registration and at the polling stations on the day of elections, the folios are with the polling agents of the parties that are observing the polling stations and the presiding officers, “she said.

Teixeira further noted that as a result, a person, upon entering the polling station has to present their biodata including their identification card to the agents who check to ensure the photos on the folio and the identification card match.

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