The Cummingsburg Accord was the platform for the APNU+AFC Coalition coming to government in 2015. It was signed on St. Valentine’s Day 2015 and has served as a guide for the deliberate transformation of Guyana’s economy, the Guyana society, the Guyanese people and their development.
As in 2015, APNU and the AFC have once again agreed to contest the upcoming elections as a Coalition, and the parties will soon present to the Guyanese public a revised Cummingsburg Accord which will guide our union, our intent and our mandate to continue to govern this great nation. The AFC’s team is led by General Secretary David Patterson and includes National Executive members Dominic Gaskin and Dr. Vincent Adams. The APNU’s team is led by General Secretary Joseph Harmon.
The discussions have begun and both sides have laid out proposed amendments for the new accord. The overriding element is our full commitment to uphold the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, ensuring that no agreement or action collides with the articles of the Constitution.
The AFC and our partner are both committed to strengthening the systems of Government, ensuring these systems embrace every citizen, every community government (NDC), every regional administration (RDC), and every other group working towards citizen growth and inclusion. Another benefit is the transparent selection of candidates who will diligently serve their communities’ and the nation’s interests instead of their own.
This method of government is known as Inclusionary Democracy, and with the Green State Development Strategy, Vision 2040, Guyana has nowhere to go but up as we combine our income from oil with new ‘green’ projects in Agriculture, Technology, Energy and Healthcare and more.
During the past four years, the government has been fighting a hard battle against a few neighbourhood leaders who showed how reluctant they are to spend the monetary subventions that central government provided for improvement works in their communities. Sometimes the jobs were as simple as clearing vegetation from drains and canals, and proper garbage disposal. It has been a long fight to get those NDCs to work for the people’s benefit. Very often Government had to resort to using one or another Ministry’s resources to build small bridges, clear trenches, to assist farmers, and do other works in communities to safeguard the comfort and health of residents.
This is one reason why we insist that candidates for municipal and other local government posts should ideally be residing in the communities they represent, and that they must have the confidence of the people living in the constituencies.
CORE PRINCIPLES OF THE ACCORD
The Accord requires members to cultivate and maintain respectful relations, to act collectively in the best interest of the coalition and the nation, and to support a common manifesto. Members must also abide by the principle of collective responsibility.
We expect that during the current discussions to amend the Cummingsburg Accord, some amendments will emanate from issues such as common positions on bills, motions and resolutions in the National Assembly, especially in light of the ‘lone wolf’ action of the member who voted with the Opposition in November 2018 on their no confidence motion. Even in the original Accord, that member was required to inform his party in advance of his sentiments. He did not.
The core principles in the original Accord also include a joint manifesto that encapsulates constitutional reform, good governance, economic growth and development, education enhancement, energy, environmental protection, indigenous peoples, infrastructural development, international relations, social protection and social cohesion, security and human safety, and women, gender equality and youth.
There is broad agreement between the two parties that the existing Accord can be amended for better alignment with the Constitution, and can accommodate additional guiding principles that may previously have been omitted.
The AFC is confident that the Guyanese people still see coalition politics as the best option for Guyana’s forward march. We remain committed to showing the Guyanese people how valuable a coalition government is to their welfare, and the value of the AFC within the government.
In this era with Guyana about to become a wealthy oil-producing nation, the welfare of our Guyanese people is priority Number One. Whatever the Government does is intended to boost our ability to learn, build, create, sell and reap well-deserved benefits in a totally transformed society and a booming economy.
The Cummingsburg Accord has successfully held its signatories together for four-plus years. With the new amendments, it could become the blueprint for the future of coalition politics in Guyana, and a device for ensuring that the Coalition’s goals and vision for Guyana are achieved.
There is no better teacher than experience. To borrow an old idiom: Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Guyana’s past pains, our sorrow, our shame, the poor international reputation we had as a drug-fuelled, under-developed nation, and the bad treatment our citizens suffered from airports to conference rooms in other countries, are now history, thanks to the decency and hard work of the Coalition Government.
This Government has turned Guyana into a choice destination for investors in business, tourism, healthcare, infrastructure, etc.
The PPP government (1992-2015) alone was responsible for our tears and hopelessness during those 23 years. But today, Guyanese have begun to progress and we are treated with respect whenever we step abroad.
We do not wish to return to those dark days of despair.
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