Nov 23, 2022 News
…as Ramjattan confirms party’s exit from Coalition in December
Kaieteur News – No decision has been made by Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton on the fate of the Alliance for Change (AFC) Members of Parliament (MPs) even as the party has signalled its intent to leave the Coalition come December 31, 2022.
Norton at his weekly Press Conference said the AFC is yet to communicate its decision to leave the Coalition to him. Presently, the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), the National Front Alliance (NFA), the Guyana Action Party (GAP), Equal Rights and Justice Party (ERJP) and Guyana Nation Builders Movement (GNBM) form the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU). The ERJP and the GNBM joined the Coalition in the last quarter of 2021.
In August and September 2020, the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) and the Justice for All Party (JFA) respectively withdrew from the Coalition after irreconcilable differences. “We continue to believe in Coalition. We will work with Coalition partners because we continue to work with the WPA (and) we will continue to do Coalition work,” Norton assured while noting that “we will live with what the reality is. If the AFC decides it will go its way, so be it.”
The Opposition Leader said, “We do not intend to beg anyone to stay in the Coalition. We understand the positives of Coalition politics and we will continue to pursue Coalition politics all the way.”
Specifically addressing the recall of AFC Parliamentarians, Norton said, “When we are formally communicated with, we will then make the decisions as to what we will do. There are a number of options that exist and we will at the right time respond…”
The Opposition Leader was unable to state what options exist should the AFC formally notify him of their exit. “I don’t know what the options are at this stage. The options will be dependent on the announcement at the time and the situation at the time.” However, Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs in an invited comment told Kaieteur News that Norton has no power to recall the Opposition MPs.
“The Representative of the List (in this instance Mr. David Granger) from which his or her name was extracted, indicates in writing to the Speaker that after meaningful consultation with the party or parties that make up the List, that the party or parties have lost confidence in that member and the Representative of the List issues a written Notice of Recall to that member and forwards a copy of that Notice to the Speaker,” the Speaker explained.
Back in July, the AFC announced its decision to leave the Coalition by the end of this year, when the Cummingsburg Accord—the agreement binding the two political groups—comes to an end.
Chairperson of the party, Catherine Hughes explained that this position was agreed on at the party’s National Conference, where the 200 members decided that upon the expiry of the current agreement, a renewal will not be facilitated.
Instead, she said the AFC will focus on rebuilding and walking on its own feet.
In making the announcement she also explained that the party has already discussed reaching out to the smaller parties that contended in the 2020 elections, as well as the Trade Unions. When it comes to partnering with the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Leader of the AFC, Khemraj Ramjattan said it is simply a ‘nonstarter’ unless the incumbent administration mends its ‘corrupt’ ways and, in particular, commence a structured distribution of the accumulated wealth from oil earnings.
Last Friday, he pointed out that the AFC is firm on its decision to leave the Coalition. In the meantime, the AFC said it will continue to have a cordial working relationship with the APNU since it shares the same views on certain matters, such as the need for a clean Voters List. Ramjattan was keen to note that while they APNU and AFC will work together on several matters, the two will similarly air its independent views. On the other hand, the AFC Leader noted that its nine Members of Parliament will remain serving and will unite in Parliament with the APNU against the PPP.
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