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Thursday, May 11, 2006

AFC CONSULTANT: Dick Morris is the AFC’s new political consultant.

THE Alliance For Change (AFC) yesterday introduced its new political consultant, American Dick Morris at a press conference at Le Meredien Pegasus Hotel in Georgetown.

Mr. Morris, a former political strategist for U.S. President Bill Clinton, stated that he was certain that the six-month-old political party would garner enough votes at this year’s general elections to enter Parliament.

He was also “fairly certain” that the AFC’s votes would constitute a balance of power in the National Assembly and felt that the party’s Presidential candidate, Mr. Raphael Trotman, had an “excellent chance” of becoming Guyana’s next President.

Morris based his opinion on an AFC-sponsored poll of 1,063 Guyanese conducted in March this year.

The poll focused mainly on the main ethnic groups – Indo-Guyanese, Afro-Guyanese and mixed Guyanese – and their political preferences, including their level of satisfaction with both the governing PPP/C and the main opposition PNCR; as well as their response to the AFC as a potential alternative to both parties, traditionally the dominant forces in Guyanese politics.

Morris stated yesterday that in his experience he could not think of any other place outside of Guyana where racial politics polarised a society so integrated.

He stated that while with political polarisation as applies in America and other places people can change their ideologies, racial politics perpetuates a system where people are polarised on their ethnicity, something they cannot change.

Questioned as to how much his services were costing the newly-formed party, Morris stated he is doing the work gratis since he believes in the AFC.

He told reporters that he occasionally works for political campaigns outside of the U.S. for free, citing his work with the successful Viktor Yuschenko presidential bid in the Ukraine last year.

He said that all he usually requires is for those political parties to handle his travel, accommodation and other basic expenses.

In a comment yesterday, Mr. Robert Persaud, Information Liaison to President Bharrat Jagdeo, responded to the poll and the press conference by saying that he was disappointed that “a new political party with old players” would resort to using race as a political strategy.

He argued that the AFC’s approach, basing its campaign strategy on an ethnic census, was a divisive move and showed no departure from the ethnic-based campaigning system that Guyana has seen throughout its post-Independence political history.

“There is no reference to policies and programmes in this approach,” Persaud stated, adding that his comments were just an initial response to the press conference.

Guyana Chronicle