Following the first meeting of its executive council in over two years, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) has committed to a speedy and amicable resolution of the concerns raised by its membership.
“The meeting was conducted in a fraternal manner but representatives from the parties engaged in a frank exchange of ideas and concerns about the strengths and shortcomings of the APNU,” APNU, which is partnered with the AFC in the governing coalition, said in a brief statement after the meeting.
In addition to a speedy and amicable resolution of the concerns raised, it also said the parties recommitted themselves to the continued success of the coalition government and its re-election in 2020.
The meeting took place following an engagement between a Working People’s Alliance (WPA) team and a government delegation headed by President David Granger. The WPA, which comprises APNU alongside the Peoples National Congress Reform (PNCR), the Guyana Action Party (GAP), the Justice for All Party (JFAP) and the National Front Alliance (NFA), had publicly complained about being sidelined from participation in government and revealed that the APNU executive council had not met since the coalition entered office.
According to the statement issued by APNU yesterday, the meeting, which was chaired by President Granger, the chairman of APNU, saw the executive addressing several critical issues, such as matters of concern raised by the executive of the WPA, the frequency of executive meetings, Amerindian land titling and the upcoming 2018 Local Government Elections.
Additionally, it said the current and future policy positions and requirements for APNU to satisfy the developmental needs of Guyana were considered by the executive.
Based on the statement, much of the meeting appears to have been centred on the examination of a report which was commissioned by Granger.
This report presented the results of consultations with each of the parties on the future development of APNU.
“Each member party was invited to comment on its details and agreed that the Report faithfully reflected their views,” the statement noted.
Attempts to reach representatives of most of the parties to ascertain what concerns were included in this report were unsuccessful, save for Dr. David Hinds, of the WPA, who stated that his party would not be making a comment but would instead hold a press conference early in this week to give a public response to yesterday’s meeting.
The WPA’s concern about the lack of executive meetings was one which the statement said all members of the executive wished to have addressed.
This concern was made public following the removal of WPA co-leader Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine from the post of Minister of Education. Roopnaraine, who remains a member of Cabinet was re-assigned to head the Department of Public Service within the Ministry of Presidency, due to concern about his performance in his previous post.
The WPA had noted that while it was informed of the decision prior to its announcement, there had been no “substantive consultation” with the party.
Last week, Roopnaraine, who for several months has been visibly ill, attempted to submit his resignation with the support of his party. President David Granger, however, did not accept the resignation. After a meeting with the president, Roopnaraine withdrew his resignation.
Asked to comment on this series of events, Hinds said that the party is not prepared to comment on the issue. He noted, however, that it will be one of the matters addressed at this week’s press conference.
Meanwhile, yesterday’s meeting also saw Granger proposing the formation of five commissions to address the detailed activities of the APNU, thereby facilitating its future functioning. These commissions will hold responsibility for administration, communities, education, elections and finance, the statement noted.