May 28, 2018 News
The Alliance For Change (AFC) believes that parties forming the current Coalition Government should be given credit for making the union work thus far.
At an AFC Press Conference on Friday, Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin acknowledged that the Coalition has struggled at the Local Government level.
“In many countries, coalition don’t last that long. I think it’s to our credit that we have been able to make this thing work. I don’t see any major fractures within the Coalition. I think it is no secret that at certain levels, especially at the Local Government level, the Coalition is not functioning as well as the central level. Apart from that, I think we have a fairly good working relationship with our coalition partners,” Gaskin pointed out.
Shortly before the May 11, 2015 General Elections, the AFC cemented a coalition with the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) under the Cummingsburg Accord. The Coalition went on to defeat the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) which held power for 23 years.
Gaskin stated that the Coalition is not unraveling as suggested by the PPP/C.
He noted that while there is the Cummingsburg Accord that governs how the parties would function at the national level, there is no such agreement to govern operations within the local government structure. “That is something that will have to be agreed upon before we contest the elections as a coalition,” Gaskin stated.
The most glaring disputes between the APNU and AFC at the Local Government level have emerged at the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) where the AFC lost the bid to secure the seat of Deputy Mayor.
The APNU-controlled Council elected Councillor Akeem Peters, as Deputy Mayor of Georgetown in March, replacing the AFC‘s Lionel Jaikaran.
During nominations, Former Deputy Mayor Sherod Duncan of the AFC failed in his attempt to nominate Jaikaran for re-election.
The AFC leadership is holding talks with the APNU in response to concerns from its members.
Earlier this month, AFC Leader, Raphael Trotman wrote to APNU Leader, David Granger to propose meetings of the two parties, and also provided details of some AFC positions for negotiation of the LGE Accord.
The AFC has named its team for the discussions which include Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson; Member of Parliament, Michael Carrington; the party’s General Secretary, Marlon Williams and Dr. Vincent Adams, who was named to review the Cummingsburg Accord between the two parties at the national level.
Government believes that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has received sufficient funding and should be ready to hold Local Government Elections (LGE) by mid-November.
Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, recently told Kaieteur News that GECOM has received direct funding from Government to the tune of $3.4B, which includes $500M from last year.
There have been three local government elections since Guyana gained independence in 1966. The first was held in 1970, then 1994 and 2016. Bulkan explained that when elections are held later this year, it will be the first time in post-colonial history that successive Local Government Elections are held as constitutionally due.
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