Aug 05, 2020 Letters Comments Off on Granger might not stick to the 70:30 parliamentary seat deal with AFC
Khemraj Ramjattan, who is still the leader of the rapidly shrinking AFC, stated recently on a radio program that his party will be allocated 30% of the total 31 parliamentary seats that the APNU+AFC coalition won at the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections.
The 30% amounts to 9 Parliamentary seats. I believe that Ramjattan based his comment on the agreement that the AFC made with APNU prior to the 2020 elections. Mr. David Granger also indicated at that time that he was the Leader of the APNU+AFC list. Mr. Granger further stated that he reserved the right to choose all the Parliamentarians from the list. The AFC cannot choose any Parliamentarian.
Assuming that Granger chooses the Parliamentarians, it will be interesting to see who will be the AFC Parliamentarians. But we caution – Mr. Granger had entered into a prior agreement (Cummingsburg Accord) with the AFC but failed to honor many of the arrangements such as the AFC- assigned Prime Minister being responsible for chairing Cabinet meetings and advising on the appointment of heads of department. Will Granger now honor the revised agreement provisions between the APNU and AFC?
The monumental problem facing Mr. Granger is that the revised APNU-AFC agreement was negotiated on the premise that (1) the coalition would likely win the March 2, 2020 elections and (2) that the AFC would deliver at least a similar level of support as they did in 2015 when they captured 10% of the traditional PPP/C votes. At the elections in 2006 the AFC won 5 seats and at the 2011 elections, the AFC won 7 seats. It was projected that they won at least 8 seats in the 2015 elections. On a GlobeSpan program in 2020 Ramjattan told the moderator that the AFC was good enough for 11 seats.
Whether that statement was meant to assure Granger and APNU that the AFC party was strong despite attempts to pull it down, is still baffling to most people. It may be recalled that at the local government election (LGE) in 2018, the AFC was literally obliterated from the political landscape when they failed to win even one local authority area. Why would Granger and APNU believe, therefore, that the AFC’s LGE 2018 performance might be transformed at the March 2, 2020 polls? What evidence would APNU possess to indicate that the AFC will deliver enough votes to secure 9 seats?
Based on various sources of information, including the sparse attendance at AFC-led meetings and internal polls, it had become evident to most analysts, that the votes polled by AFC at the 2020 elections might cover at the most, one seat. Why would APNU, therefore, award the AFC with 8 additional seats for their abysmal electoral performance? How would logic and reason explain this phenomenon?
Further, why would APNU members particularly those who are on the list, allow their leader to allocate 8 additional seats to AFC (a party that has been written off by most analysts), at the probable expense of deserving APNU members? The tension could be high and Granger may be forced to re-think the allocation formula of 70:30. I understand that the revised APNU-AFC agreement was not written in stone. If Granger decides to uphold the 70:30 formula, I can anticipate a simmering turbulence within the APNU.
It’s rather interesting to see how this plays out.
Dr. Tara Singh
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