Deputy Leader and long-standing member of The United Force (TUF) Michael Abraham feels that his party has lost popularity because of its alignment with the PPP/C administration and believes that if the party is to join forces with another group it should be the AFC.
Speaking with Stabroek News on Monday, Abraham said that he was a firm believer in inclusive governance where the best in each party forms the government. “That is the only, only viable way of getting our country going,” he said.
Questioned about forging a partnership with opposition coalition APNU, which has identified a unity government at the heart of its plans, Abraham said he was reluctant to do so and “would rather go with the AFC.”
“The PNC, they have not apologised for the years of rigging of elections,” Abraham said, while adding that if the main opposition went this route, it would greatly improve its chances of winning more votes. Abraham has been a member of the TUF since 1963 and was the party’s prime ministerial candidate at the last elections.
Abraham, who intends to resign as the party’s deputy leader because of ill-health and his distance from the city, said that he had been “out of the firing” line in the recent TUF leadership struggle. There has been a battle for control between party presidential candidate Valerie Garrido-Lowe and long serving party leader Manzoor Nadir.
After giving up the leadership of the party earlier this year, Nadir told Stabroek News that he had reluctantly taken it back as a result of Lowe’s attempt to “surgically remove” long-standing party officers. Lowe then secured an injunction against her party colleagues Nadir and Ismail Muhammad, preventing them from interfering with her functions.
The court has since ruled that Garrido-Lowe is the leader of the party and passed a ruling restraining Nadir from holding himself as leader and from occupying the party’s headquarters.
Regarding the dispute, Abraham suggested that the decision by Lowe to seek an independent route for the party may have riled Nadir and the PPP.
According to him, since the 2006 elections, people would approach him and say that “a vote for the TUF is a vote for the PPP.” “Those comments really unsettled me,” he said. “The final straw which broke the camel’s back was when he terminated the service of Carl Greenidge from Caricom,” Abraham said. “He’s a die-hard PNC, and I’m a die-hard TUF, but I know a good man when I see one,” Abraham said, referring to Greenidge.
Greenidge, a former finance minister under the PNC administration, was sacked last year as the Deputy Senior Director in the Caricom Secretariat’s Office of Trade and Negotiations, following a complaint by the Guyana government. It was Nadir, in his role as acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and International Cooperation, who made the official complaint to Caricom on the government’s behalf.
The government took offence to statements Greenidge made at the funeral service of former PNCR executive member Winston Murray.
Nadir, who has served for 10 years as a PPP/C minister, has repeatedly said that he joined the Cabinet with the approval of his party’s executive.
Abraham told this newspaper that after the 2006 elections, Nadir actually called him and asked him about being a Cabinet minister. Abraham’s support of Nadir joining the PPP/C government was based on the belief that Nadir would be able to represent the interests of the TUF and the Amerindian people in the government.
However, Abraham is not pleased with Nadir’s efforts as a minister. “It looks as if we have been totally absorbed into the PPP,” he opined; “With all the charges of corruption with the PPP, I thought he should have done the honourable thing and resign.”
Efforts to contact, Nadir for comment were unsuccessful but he is on record as defending his involvement as a minister in the PPP government.