AFC Vice-Chair Sheila Holder has announced her withdrawal as the party’s Prime Ministerial Candidate, as she prepares to undergo urgent medical treatment.
Holder, 65, in a statement today said that her withdrawal, with immediate effect, was due to a medical condition, which will require urgent treatment overseas during the most intense period of the 2011 elections campaign.
“While I am withdrawing for health reasons, my doctors are optimistic that I should be well enough to resume my political work in just a few months, I eagerly look forward to that moment,” she said, while noting that the AFC leadership will soon unveil the process by which it will choose her replacement.
“I firmly believe that we will choose the best possible Prime Ministerial Candidate who will gain my full support,” Holder also said. She added that she had the utmost confidence in the AFC and looked forward to continuing her active role in moving Guyana forward alongside her colleagues.
Holder was selected to be the running mate for presidential candidate Khemraj Ramjattan at a special AFC convention that was held last November. Her nomination was seen as significant, given that no woman, apart from the late former President Janet Jagan, had ever been selected to be the Prime Ministerial candidate for a major political party here.
Holder’s withdrawal could see AFC leader Raphael Trotman being put forward as her replacement on the party’s slate. He surprised party representatives when he declined the nomination at the convention, citing personal issues. Holder had indicated to Trotman and the party that she would step aside to provide him the opportunity to be the candidate, if his circumstances changed.
Additionally, Executive member, Cathy Hughes, who also declined a nomination to be the candidate, may also be in the running as a replacement.
Below is the full text of her statement:
September 9, 2011
My fellow Guyanese, brothers, sisters and friends I wish to thank you for your belief in me and the change I stand for.
I wish to inform you that due to my medical condition, which will require urgent treatment overseas for the next few months, I have today informed my colleagues in the leadership of the AFC that I have decided to withdraw from the Prime Ministerial Candidacy of the Party with immediate effect.
While I am withdrawing for health reasons, my doctors are optimistic that I should be well enough to resume my political work in just a few months. I eagerly look forward to that moment.
My decision to withdraw now is because I will need urgent medical treatment during the most intense period of the 2011 elections campaign which as you all know is imminent.
The Leadership of the AFC will soon unveil the process by which we will choose my replacement. I firmly believe that we will choose the best possible Prime Ministerial Candidate who will gain my and the party’s full support.
Fellow Guyanese, the mission of change is my passion. I ask you to be steadfast. Believe in yourselves, your power and your work for change. This will keep me motivated for a fast recovery. As Indira Ghandi said, “You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose.”
At this time I would like to express my gratitude to you, members of the public, and the membership and the National Executive Committee of the AFC for the support and love you provided during my candidacy. I have the utmost confidence in the Alliance For Change and look forward to continuing my active role in moving Guyana forward alongside my colleagues.
Finally, I ask all the citizens of Guyana to join with me and my colleagues in the AFC to transform our nation in this upcoming general elections. Vote Change… Vote AFC.
Sheila Holder MP
Vice Chair, AFC