The AFC says that within the first six months of being in government, it will engage all political parties and civil society to rewrite the Constitution.
“One of our objectives in this process would be to ensure that the Constitution guarantees equality before the law for all our citizens,” the party said in an ad published in the Kaieteur News yesterday. Recently, the party has renewed its call for the Constitution to be reformed with its chairman Nigel Hughes making a presentation in this regard at the AFC’s recent conference.
The ad which was headlined ‘No one must be above the law’ cited Article 182 (1), (2) and (3) of the Constitution which deals with the immunities of the President. “Under the cover of the Constitution, Presidents can rip-off our treasury, persecute our citizens, sell off our patrimony and engage in all sorts of actions that would place private citizens behind bars. This is unacceptable,” the AFC declared. The party said that the law must not be for some and not for others.
The ruling PPP has been accused of breaking laws and making deals that are not within the confines of the law. It has denied that it has broken laws.
The AFC has proposed a broad pro-democracy alliance to unseat the PPP in upcoming general elections and the party’s General-Secretary David Patterson told Stabroek News yesterday that “…our cornerstone for that alliance will be constitutional reform.” He said that the AFC is now in the first phase of forming the alliance and has sent out invitations to meet. All have been met with “favourable responses,” he said.
Patterson was tight-lipped on the proposals and said these will come out of the meetings. He declined to say when the meetings would be held stating that some of the organisations contacted are sensitive.
In this first phase, the AFC official said, they will seek a “united position to the current parliamentary impasse” as well as deal with pro-democracy issues. He said that they have given themselves six weeks for this phase which should wrap up around mid-January.
Last month, on November 10th, President Donald Ramotar suspended the National Assembly. He has been unable to mobilise support for his move and his government has been increasingly criticised over the move. He has come under fire from political parties, civil society and other groupings, with the UK and Organisation of American States, among others, calling on him to end the suspension of parliament.
Opposition Leader David Granger has said that APNU is willing to sit and talk with the AFC about its pro-democracy alliance but up to Friday, the party was still in the dark about the details of it. According to Granger, his party has asked for a proposal but has not yet received one.
Patterson had said on Thursday that talks will be held soon with all stakeholders, including the main opposition APNU.
Earlier this month, AFC leader Khemraj Ramjattan said the AFC is prepared to lead a pro-democracy alliance of progressive forces, inclusive of the opposition coalition APNU, to remove the PPP/C government from office. Many observers believe that an AFC and APNU coalition could claim office from the incumbent PPP/C, which lost the majority for the first time at the last general elections in 2011, although it retained the presidency.