On the eve of the second anniversary of the May 11, 2015 General Elections, the Alliance For Change (AFC) has appointed a team to review the Cummingsburg Accord which birthed the historic coalition that ended the PPP/C’s 23-year reign in office.
In a statement yesterday, the AFC said that the Cummingsburg Accord Review Committee (CARC) has been mandated with studying the Accord between the AFC and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and identifying areas which may require strengthening and updating along with discussion and negotiation with APNU.
The team comprises Dr Vincent Adams, Dr. Rohan Somar, AFC General Secretary Marlon Williams, former General Secretary David Patterson, Joel Edmond, Sherod Duncan, a Representative of Women For Change and a Representative of Youth For Change. The members will appoint a chairperson from among themselves.
After the coalition had entered office in May 2015, there were immediate concerns that the AFC’s leading member in the government, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo was being sidelined in favour of APNU’s Minister of State Joseph Harmon. Though he was number two in government, Nagamootoo had few portfolio responsibilities while Harmon’s portfolio was multifarious and kept expanding. There were also concerns in other areas.
Yesterday’s statement said that the AFC took the decision at its second National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting for 2017, while simultaneously restating that the Coalition Government “remains strong and cohesive and that it remains committed to the Coalition’s ideals and principles and the Cummingsburg Accord itself”. However the party noted that the accord is a sunset pact which requires early review with an eye to the Local Government Elections of 2019 and General and Regional Elections in 2020.
“The Cummingsburg Accord is an historic agreement which was the platform for the APNU+AFC Coalition coming to government in 2015, it has served as a guide to the Coalition partners in government and there has been good faith and a strong sense of mutual respect on both sides,” noted party Leader Raphael Trotman.
“Given that we are approaching our second anniversary in government it presents an opportune time to engage in reflection and commence an early process of thorough, comprehensive and necessary review of the Cummings-burg Accord with a view to strengthening, updating and broadening the agreement as we look towards upcoming elections in two and three years’ time,” Trotman added in the statement.
“The CARC has been tasked with widely consulting with the party’s members and stakeholders to listen to their views and recommendations and examining the agreement itself and present to the party’s NEC, at its next meeting, a preliminary report on the areas, which in its view, requires further examination,” Trotman explained, while stressing that the party is keen on ensuring that it prepares adequately and comprehensively for future elections.
Among the terms of the Cummingsburg Accord were:
APNU will nominate the Presidential candidate and AFC will nominate the Prime Ministerial candidate.
The AFC is assured of 12 seats in the National Assembly (Parliament)
In the construct of a new government the APNU will be allocated one Vice President and AFC two Vice Presidents both of whom will be members of the Cabinet.
In reflecting the thinking and commitment to and for future constitutional reform it has been agreed that the Presidency will be reorganised along the following lines;
1)- The President as Head of State, Head of Government, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and shall have responsibility for; the appointment of Constitutional Agencies and Commissions with the required and agreed democratic mechanisms of consultation and appoint.
2)- Foreign Affairs, International Relations and Non-Commercial Treaties.
3)- National Security Policy, the Defence Board. The Joint Intelligence Committee, the Guyana Defence Force et al.
The President will delegate the following responsibilities to the Prime Minister;
1)- Domestic national Affairs and Chairing Cabinet;
2)- Recommending Ministerial appointments and providing the organizational structures of Ministries for the approval of the President;
3)- Appointment of Head of Agencies and Non-Constitutional Commissions with the required and agreed democratic mechanisms of consultation and appoint;
4)- Domestic Security (Home Affairs)
The Parties further agree that Cabinet positions will be allocated on a 60/40 basis between the APNU and the AFC respectively.
The second NEC meeting for 2017 was held on Saturday April 29th at the Egbert Benjamin Conference Centre in Linden, Region 10, following the first, which was held in March in Georgetown.
The statement said that representatives from all ten administrative regions attended the meeting along with representatives from the Diaspora, Women For Change and Youth For Change.
The quarterly meeting received various reports, including from Trotman, General Secretary Williams and from the representatives of the Regional Management Committees.
Trotman said that he is especially pleased with the work being done by the party at the grassroots level, particularly in regions 5, 9 and 10.
Immediate past leader and Chairman, Khemraj Ramjattan said that he is heartened by the number of outreaches which the party leadership has undertaken all across Guyana and called for this programme to be ramped up.
The party’s NEC comprises the Leader, Chairman, Vice Chairperson, General Secretary, Treasurer, Elder Statesman/Political Advisor, 12 elected members and five co-opted members.
The statement said that the meeting was entirely funded by the host region, Region 10 Regional Management Committee under the chairmanship of Tracey Johnson.