Guyana’s Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton has vowed to intensify both local and international pressure on the Irfaan Ali-led administration next year, reiterating the need to weed out perceived anti-Black policies in the oil-producing nation.
He added that those within his party, A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC), who have been charged with several crimes including racial remarks, misappropriation, elections fraud and other misdemeanours, are victims of the government’s strategy to silence and humiliate political rivals.
In his address to the nation today, Norton said that 2022 has seen a major decline in quality of life, and lamented the high cost of living and the existence of an “uncaring” government. The pandemic’s role in the increase in the cost of living and the Russia/Ukraine war did not feature in the Opposition Leader’s oration, despite their known adverse impact on Guyana’s socioeconomic reality.
Norton, whose APNU+AFC government ordered the shuttering of several sugar estates and the imposition of a reported 200 tax measures between 2015 and 2020, said that there is still widespread poverty in 2022 and the existence of an anti-poor regime. Despite the Ali government’s removal and reversal of several of these measures, Norton said that the government deserves a failing grade.
He said that his party will continue to fight for a better quality of life, at home and abroad. Norton will now seek the help of the same international organisation and countries that pressured his party from desisting to thwart the direction of the 2020 poll.
“We will continue to engage the diplomatic community and widen the list of countries and international organisations we engage in 2023. The Coalition including the PNCR has placed ‘boots on the ground’ in support of our cause. We engaged in the Parliament, notwithstanding the government’s lack of interest in parliamentary democracy,” the Opposition Leader said.
He said that come next year, the opposition’s focus will remain directed at: ensuring biometrics at the places of poll and a clean voters list; keeping the pressure on the government to implement cost-of-living relief measures; ensuring fair and equitable allocation of resources to citizens; defending the rights and freedoms of citizens and communities; and exposing the government with the aim of educating the citizenry and stamping out government corruption and discrimination.