Nov 21, 2017 News
Amid criticisms, top leadership of the Alliance for Change (AFC) over the weekend decided that the party will be moving to revise its governing agreement with Coalition partner, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).
The party also announced that it has endorsed the recent appointment by President David Granger, of Justice James Patterson as the new Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
AFC, the smaller of the two factions forming the Government, has been accused of being swamped by its larger, 10-party partner- an accusation that it has denied.
There have been reports that AFC was not too comfortable with the current Cummingsburg Accord which sets how the two coalition partners would divide up the ministries. It was signed in the lead-up to the May 2015 General Elections, which was called early after Parliament was prorogued.
Under the current configuration, the AFC has received the portfolios of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, and the Ministry of Agriculture, among others.
According to the AFC yesterday, “The NEC (National Executive Committee) mandated the party’s leadership to formally write to A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) with regard to review and revision of the Cummingsburg Accord, and stipulated that this process must be completed by the third anniversary of the signing of the Accord – February 14, 2018.”
Already, the party’s executive has named members in the negotiating team, in “anticipation” of APNU similarly naming its negotiating team.
This weekend, AFC’s NEC held its quarterly meeting at the Georgetown Club, Camp Street.
In a statement on the meeting, AFC yesterday said that the key forum was attended by the national leadership and representatives from all administrative regions in Guyana and the Diaspora.
With regards to national matters, the party’s NEC expressed “deep concern” for workers in the sugar industry who are likely to be displaced.
It called on the Government to take “decisive decisions” with regard to the workers’ welfare, and proposed that there should be considerations for important issues including severance pay; offer of land leases; access to small loans and to markets for agro-processing.
“The party endorses the vision of a new bridge across the Demerara River along with the paving of the Linden to Lethem road. The party further endorses the design of the new Demerara River Bridge as presented by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure,” the statement said.
“While welcoming measures to increase minimum wage and avoid any new taxes, the NEC urges that Budget 2018 be balanced with enhanced social content to meet the needs of all communities while not neglecting the strategic infrastructural projects.”
The party also said it remains fully committed to executing its role in advancing Constitutional Reform and called on the government to establish the Integrity Commission as a matter of urgent national priority.
With regards to internal matters, the NEC said that it formally endorsed the party’s decision to lend support to the decision of President, David Granger in appointing Justice James Patterson as GECOM Chairman.
“The NEC pointed to the need for strengthening of the party’s structures to prepare for the 2018 Local Government Elections and to improve the performance of the party’s secretariat with a view to enhancing its efficiency and effectiveness in serving both the party and the public.”
The AFC is also looking to heighten its outreach activities across communities in Guyana and in Diaspora.
The party burst into the spotlight in the late 2000s with its leaders, including Khemraj Ramjattan, Moses Nagamootoo and Raphael Trotman coming from the two main parties – the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) and People’s National Congress Reform.
The AFC’s presence in 2011 saw the PPP/C losing its Parliamentary control, with the coalition formation for the 2015 elections getting a narrow nod from the populace.
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