Three of Guyana’s most seasoned attorneys-at-law will battle it out for the leadership position of the Alliance For Change (AFC) come Saturday at the party’s National Conference. The event is set to take place at the Vreed-en-Hoop Primary School, West Bank Demerara, Region Three.
While the current leader, Khemraj Ramjattan has been nominated again for the post, he will have to go against the party’s co-founder Raphael Trotman and its Vice Chairman, Moses Nagamootoo.
There will also be the election for a new Chairman. The nominations for this post include Nagamootoo, Catherine Hughes, Ramjattan and Trotman. The position was previously held by Nigel Hughes.
For the Vice Chairman position, AFC delegates have nominated the incumbent; Moses Nagamootoo, Valerie Garrido-Lowe, Catherine Hughes, Audwin Rutherford and Trotman.
Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, was nominated again for the office of the General Secretary. He will have to run against Michael Carrington, Alison Mohamed and Marlon Williams
Kaieteur News understands that there is keen interest in and competition for the 12 National Executive Committee (NEC) positions which saw a total of 73 nominees.
In addition to the 12 elected members of the NEC, the AFC explained that each Regional Management Committee and overseas chapter, along with the Women For Change and Youth For Change, are entitled to send a representative to the NEC meetings. Also, the NEC can co-opt up to five members if the need arises for additional representation in particular areas.
The party explained yesterday that it has an Electoral College system comprising 275 delegates which are allocated as follows:
Region One – 10 delegates;
Region Two – 20 delegates;
Region Three – 15 delegates;
Region Four – 75 delegates;
Region Five – 20 delegates;
Region Six – 40 delegates;
Region Seven – 10 delegates;
Region Eight – 10 delegates;
Region Nine – 10 delegates;
Region 10 – 20 delegates;
Women For Change (WFC) – 10 delegates;
Youths For Change (YFC) – 10 delegates;
USA Chapter – nine delegates;
Canada Chapter – six delegates;
Caribbean Chapter – six delegates;
and the United Kingdom Chapter – four delegates.
The Returning Officer for the elections will be Mr. Clayton Hall.
The National Conference will also consider over a dozen Motions and Resolutions on a wide array of matters. The submitted Motions and Resolutions are currently being reviewed by a Special Committee set up by the party’s Management Committee.
Since the announcement by Ramjattan that he has intentions of running for the leadership position for a third time, there have been concerns as to whether the AFC’s Constitution permits this.
While some within the party believe that Ramjattan, who also serves as the Minister of Public Security, is allowed to do so, there are others who feel otherwise.
One such person is Raphael Trotman. He is of the belief that the leadership of the party should be rotated.
Trotman reminded that the AFC’s Constitution says “The various senior positions of the AFC, including those in the National Executive, Regions and Groups ought to be rotated as far as is possible so that no member is allowed to serve more than two consecutive terms in the same office, so as to ensure a broader activism in leadership positions by the membership.”
With this in mind, the AFC Executive Member commented, “The Constitution says ought to rotate and I believe that we should, unless there is some extraordinary situation. The delegates will of course, have a right to choose. But I believe that we should try to adhere to the constitution unless the delegates feel otherwise…I believe that it is something the delegates would have to make a decision on.”
Trotman continued, “So definitely, it does not say ‘shall’ like the Constitution, but I believe the intention of the framers of the AFC constitution— and I was certainly one of them— was to ensure that there was movement. And we should do our best to ensure that we honour the spirit of the (AFC) Constitution…I believe that this is something the delegates would have to ponder and make a decision on.”
The Minister of Natural Resources reiterated that while the AFC’s Constitution does not make it “absolute” that the position of leadership be rotated, he firmly believes that “the spirit and intent” of the phrase ‘ought to rotate’ was to ensure there was “a constant flow.”
Trotman added, “Ramjattan is my good friend; he is a good leader. I always say to people that I like his tenacity and he has led the party well. It’s a matter for the delegates to ponder, and he and I have spoken on it…and it is up for discussion. We are allowing our names to go up for leadership along with others.”
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