The Alliance for Change (AFC) seems to be in damage control over its support of President Granger’s unilateral appointment of 84-year-old retired Justice James Patterson to the position of Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). While its leaders claimed that they were not informed of the decision, out of the blue came evidence via leaked emails that they were indeed informed, ahead of time.
Several leaked e-mails by two displeased and disappointed executive members of the party’s Toronto Chapter have disputed the leaders’ narrative. If it was true that they were not part of the decision, then its members in the diaspora wanted to know why they supported the President.
The AFC executives were informed of their leaders’ decision to support the President via e-mails. In one of those e-mails, several AFC executives, including its former General Secretary and Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson and the Minister of Business and Treasurer of the AFC, Dominic Gaskin, had on points of principle, expressed disapproval of the decision to unilaterally appoint the Chairman of GECOM. However, their views were in essence negated by the AFC Chairman, Khemraj Ramjattan.
Ramjattan has stated that he told President Granger that he was not comfortable with the second list of nominees submitted by the opposition leader, Bharrat Jagdeo. He further advised the President that if he, (Mr. Granger) was not comfortable with the list, he was empowered under the provision of Article 161 of the Constitution to make a unilateral appointment in order to end the impasse between himself and the opposition leader.
Ramjattan also indicated that AFC Leader. Mr. Raphael Trotman had expressed similar sentiments to the President. The information in the emails has since been confirmed by Ramjattan.
The AFC decision has led deep-seated differences with its local executives and those in the North American Chapters. Disappointed with the appointment, the executives of the Toronto Chapter have pulled their support from the party until it rescinds its decision. In response, Mr. Ramjattan accused the Chairman and the Secretary of the Toronto Chapter of releasing confidential e-mails to the public and has labelled them as rogue elements who have an axe to grind. He was adamant that they should resign from the party.
Criticisms also came from the AFC Chapter in the US. In a scathing attack on the AFC leaders, the Chairman of the AFC New York Chapter described the leaders as weak and impotent, and that they are being treated as a step child by the coalition government. He denounced the excuse by the AFC for supporting the unilateral decision as hollow and nonsensical.
However, the leaders of the Toronto Chapter are not the first to be labeled rogues and thrown under the bus by the Chairman because of their disagreements with party leadership
In view of the unpopularity of the development, many believe that the AFC took a calculated risk that has damaged its public image and left it in a precipitous meltdown.
Several executives, including two AFC ministers, have stated that it was wrong for the AFC to abandon its principles of integrity and liberal democracy in support of the President’s unilateral appointment. It is anti-AFC to the core. For its leaders to say one thing in public and say something else in private is instructive.
Now in government, the AFC is driven less by the principles on which it was founded, and more by political power. Power has in some cases become an end rather than a means to achieve its objectives.
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