By Kiana Wilburg
Though Opposition Leader David Granger was pellucid in articulating to this newspaper in a previous interview that he is not interested in the Alliance For Change (AFC)’s pro-democracy proposal, the AFC still seems hopeful that at the end of discussions with Granger, he will sign on.
For the time being, the party members stayed clear of speculating on what could be the likely outcome of those discussions.
This sentiment was expressed yesterday by the AFC’s General Secretary, David Patterson who was asked by Kaieteur News to respond to Granger’s rejection of its proposal.
AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan had said, “Hard decisions would have to be made, and indeed the AFC is ready to enter, if necessary, into negotiations and to lead a pro-democracy alliance of progressive forces comprising civic groups, workers’ unions, political forces…and by political forces here we are talking about even PPP members who have been disenchanted with the performance of the PPP thus far, and even APNU.”
Granger was subsequently asked during one of his press conferences whether he had started discussions with the AFC Leader on the said proposal. The Opposition Leader had told the media that he has been in contact with the AFC and is expected to meet with the party within a few days’ time. The politician had said that to the best of his knowledge, Ramjattan is supposed to submit a proposal for discussion as well.
At the conclusion of the press briefing, Kaieteur News had asked Granger for his opinion on the pro-democracy proposal and whether his meeting with AFC leader is an indication of his interest in joining the alliance.
“I am not interested in that alliance. I am interested in the APNU which is committed to forming a government of national unity and that is the pro-democracy front –APNU. We have invited AFC, but they haven’t taken the bait for the last three years and we haven’t received that invitation formally,” Granger had firmly stated.
Asked to respond to this yesterday at the AFC’s end-of-year press conference, Patterson said that the party will not be reacting to the news article, but the information sent back to the AFC was totally different.
The AFC General Secretary said too that the party has already distributed letters to the coalition and they will be meeting soon. He noted that the AFC’s pro-democracy proposal “is still on the cards” and the party has given itself six weeks to complete works in this regard and things are moving apace.
Considering that Patterson said he got a “different response” – in contrast to what was reported by this newspaper – he was asked if that “response” included in it, an indication that Granger is interested in its proposal.
“APNU has indicated that it would like to sit and meet and we will be meeting soon. We don’t want to speculate here, because obviously these are ongoing discussions and we don’t want to speculate on the outcome,” Patterson asserted.
He said that the AFC is negotiating with other groups such as civil society and trade unions on the proposal and at the end of it all, the media will be duly informed. He was also reminded that APNU had a similar proposal on the table for three years, and was asked why the AFC did not sign on to it.
The General Secretary explained that there is a big distinction between the proposal by the AFC and that of APNU.
“There is a big distinction; APNU had asked for us to be involved in a big tent arrangement, but ours is for all stakeholders and will be driven by policies and agreements, as opposed to an electoral big tent alliance. APNU’s proposal was prior to 2011 and was just for us to be the 11th member of the group, and that is something we didn’t take up,” Patterson concluded.
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