AFC to engage APNU on coalition for local gov’t polls

The Alliance For Change (AFC) yesterday said that it will soon engage governing partner A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) on the possibility of contesting the upcoming Local Government Elections (LGE) as a coalition.

This was among the decisions made at an AFC National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting, held at the Georgetown Club on Camp Street, yesterday.

In a statement last evening, the party said the Committee, having met at a duly constituted meeting, “has mandated the Leader of the Party to engage the APNU in discussion that could see the parties contesting the 2018 Local Government Elections as a coalition.”

Party leader Raphael Trotman had noted recently that there was sentiment within the party that it should opt to contest the LGE alone.

“There is a strong body of feeling within the party that we should go it alone, or another view is to seek to enter into a new accord for LGE,” Trotman had told this newspaper a few weeks ago. He informed that the views of party leaders, in and out of Guyana, were being assessed after which the party will meet with the APNU and publicly announce their decisions.

Trotman noted that the main supporting argument for going it alone at the upcoming elections, which are constitutionally due by December, was to maintain the identity of the party.

According to the AFC release, the NEC, the second highest decision-making organ of the AFC, has the mandate to make decisions for the party in between AFC Biennial Conferences.

The meeting mandated Trotman to write President David Granger outlining the party’s position on the way forward, and on specific issues that are of concern to the AFC.

It was noted that the meeting discussed the Cummingsburg Accord, “critically analyzing its operationalization and the expectation of its members that this still relatively new arrangement will concretize a new era of good governance and development in Guyana.”

Last November, the party held a similar NEC meeting and it was then that the members had mandated that their leader secure a revision of the accord by the February 14th anniversary. Trotman had said that the letter would have been sent “with the expectation that the parties to the coalition could discuss the accord and determine if it is to be renewed and extended, and if so, to agree ways of strengthening it for the future.” However the party later said that there would be no discussion of a review ahead of the anniversary, but did not publicly state the reason for the change.

The AFC last month stressed that the accord, which has a lifespan of three to five years, “primarily dealt with the National and General Elections which took place in May 2015 [and] is very silent on LGE (Local Government Elections)” and as such they are still to decide if they will go to this year’s regional elections by themselves.

The AFC’s request for a revision of the accord had come after the public battering it received over its support for the unilateral appointment of the Guyana Elections Commission Chairman and the internal divisions that later erupted.

AFC said last evening that the NEC meeting acknowledged that there are areas in the relationship shared with APNU that are working well and others that need to be examined, clearly defined and strengthened. “An AFC team was identified to discuss these areas with the APNU”, the statement said.

It was explained that the meeting noted the sterling work being done by AFC Ministers of Government, Councillors at the Regional and Municipal levels. The meeting also reaffirmed its commitment to the coalition.

Representatives from all Ten Administrative Regions of Guyana, members of the Party’s Management Committee, Regional Councillors, members of the Diaspora and Chairpersons of the Youth For Change and Women For Change were in attendance at the meeting.

 

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