Jan 03, 2023 News
…says may rejoin Coalition for 2025 elections
Kaieteur News – The Alliance For Change (AFC) has parted ways with the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), ending a seven year bond between the groups.
Leader of the AFC, Khemraj Ramjattan yesterday confirmed the split, adding that the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Aubrey Norton has accepted and respects the party’s decision.
Ramjattan explained, “We had a partnership agreement that indicated terms of withdrawal within three years to five years and we have so withdrawn on the third year. It is not a split. We will still remain cordial and courteous and have engagements because we know that indeed that is necessary for a united Opposition against this very corrupt PPP government.”
He said it was on December 28, 2022 that he met with Norton to relate the party’s decision to withdraw from the APNU. At that meeting, only the Leaders from the two sides were present, Ramjattan said.
“It is nothing that he can’t accept. If by a contract you say, it could be terminated within an expiry of time and the time has expired and we said well fine, we’ll go, it is not for him to consent to it. He doesn’t have a privilege to say the consent of his is necessary. Anyone of us could say we are withdrawing and that is what we wrote into the Accord,” he explained.
Ramjattan said he made it clear during the engagement with Norton that it was not a decision he made, but was one that the party’s highest decision-making body decided on in June last year, during its biennial National Conference.
When asked if AFC is likely to have future partnerships with the APNU, Ramjattan said this is likely.
“Oh yes, I can foresee that if at our next national conference, they decide that they would want to go, fine why not? At that appropriate moment, if there is a decision for the rejoining, that could very well happen. If that National Conference feels that some other decision should be made, they can very well make that decision.”
At the same time, he pointed out that if the National Conference also votes in favour of joining the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) he will accept this decision as well.
Similarly, Ramjattan said that if the AFC members decide that they want to join other small political parties to “remain independent” this will be done.
The next AFC National Congress is due for 2024, while the next Regional and General Elections should be held in 2025.
At this time, the AFC is not engaged in discussion with any other political group, according to Ramjattan who said the party’s focus is to regain independence and do its own work.
Meanwhile, as it regards the recalling of the AFC Members of Parliament, Ramjattan said it was a “non-issue” that was not and could not be raised with Norton.
“Well he knows and I emphasized the point even before that there is an inviolability of our nine Parliamentary seats and that is in accordance with the Constitution. We went in as an Opposition in the Parliament as APNU+AFC and at a Parliamentary level, we are going to be APNU/AFC and we will have our nine Parliamentarians there. They can’t go and take that away; neither can we take any away from their 22.”
He said the Leader of the Opposition understands clearly that while the parties will be going their independent ways, they will work along, communicate and collaborate in the National Assembly.
Several attempts made to contact Norton yesterday were unsuccessful.
It was on February 14, 2015 that the AFC signed the Cummingsburg Accord with the APNU, binding the two political parties as a Coalition. They later defeated the PPP at the 2015 elections held in May that year. Since then, the Coalition has stood together but not without its internal hiccups.
Though most of these are kept quiet by the members, Ramjattan hinted before that the two sides had a misunderstanding over the Region Four Vice Chairman position that led to its decision to leave the APNU.
“We have had other problems as you would have within Parties…but we have had our problems and I don’t want to make all the problems public,” he told a press conference in November last year.
It must be noted too that the tension between the APNU and AFC sparked when a member of the Alliance For Change, Charrandass Persaud turned against the Coalition and voted in favour of a ‘No Confidence’ Motion that was filed against the then government in December 2018. This led to the historic over turn of the Coalition government.
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