AFC threatens split from APNU

first_img…after Ramjattan rejected as PM candidate…AFC not only party in coalition Govt – GrangerThe Alliance For Change (AFC) has threatened to part ways with its coalition partner, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), after its choice for prime ministerial candidate for the upcoming 2020 polls was reportedly rejected.Leader of the AFC, Khemraj RamjattanAFC and APNU, which form the current coalition Government, were in talks over the revision of the Cummingsburg Accord so that they could contest the elections again as a coalition. The Accord, which binds the two parties, states that the presidential position will be filled by the APNU while the prime ministerial position would be filled by the AFC.However, Treasurer of the AFC, Dominic Gaskin, stated at a press conference on Thursday that these negotiations have been stalled as the parties have since failed to reach a consensus on the prime ministerial candidate. While the AFC has moved to select Khemraj Ramjattan for that position, the APNU has shown little sign of support for this decision.President David GrangerCommenting on the matter, Gaskin indicated, “The AFC wishes to confirm reports that the negotiations of a revised Cummingsburg Accord between the two parties (have been) stalled due to a lack of consensus on this issue. The AFC finds it unacceptable that the matter of the presidential and prime ministerial candidates (has) been repeatedly deferred.”Gaskin, who has been part of the negotiations, said the deferral was unclear, and his party was not in agreement with reasons provided by its coalition partner. However, the idea of replacing Ramjattan is not up for debate.Gaskin hinted that the AFC’s selection of the prime ministerial candidate is that party’s condition for remaining in the coalition ahead of the approaching general and regional elections.“This was a decision taken by the highest decision-making forum of our party, and it is not up for debate; so it is almost a prerequisite for us entering into a coalition…“We don’t accept that any other entity or any other party shall tell us or dictate to us (whom) we should choose as our prime ministerial candidate,” the former Business Minister clarified.He added, “There were a number of reasons given why this matter needed to be deferred, none of which we accept or agree with…It wasn’t very clear with us on what basis the matter kept being deferred.”Meanwhile, the minority coalition party has also informed the APNU that until this stalemate is resolved, no other decision can be made on the Accord.“Our position is that we cannot have any further discussions on a revised Cummingsburg Accord until there is consensus on the positions of the presidential and prime ministerial candidates.”The APNU has thrown its support behind President David Granger to return as president for a second term. Asked whether the AFC would be willing to make a switch, Vice-Chair Cathy Hughes affirmed, “We’ve had a set process that chose a candidate. On what basis would we begin to re-examine our process that we hold important to the operations of the AFC? We don’t have a basis to change it. Why would we?”The AFC will be hosting its National Executive Committee meeting on November 2, 2019. There, executives are hoping to forge a definite position on the party’s “mode of participation” in the upcoming national and regional elections amidst these outcomes.That party has, however, renewed its commitment towards coalition politics here in Guyana. Though it has not been discussed, Gaskin stated, that party’s form of association shows it is willing to join with any other party.“We’re the Alliance for Change. I think we’ve always said that we’re here to form alliances for the benefit of Guyana, so we have no inherent opposition to forming alliances with anyone”.Hughes also mentioned, “The Alliance for Change is willing to work with anyone committed to the principles of constitutional reform and the creation of a more equitable Guyana, where everyone has an equal opportunity.”On October 3, Granger had said that Ramjattan has not been given the green light by APNU, and the prime ministerial candidacy would be determined after negotiations between the two parties. However, in an interview with new podcast INSIDE Sources, Granger on Thursday said the AFC is not the only party in the coalition Government. Granger also said during the podcast that he is open to recommendations from other parties within the coalition.“The President is the Chief Executive of the country, and I am open to recommendations from all of my parties, and it is my duty to give the country the best team of Ministers in order to accomplish the strategic objectives of the coalition,” Granger is quoted by podcast INSIDE Sources as saying.last_img read more