Guyana Politics: APNU, AFC talks stall over prime ministerial candidate

From left are Dominic Gaskin, Cathy Hughes, Sherod Duncan and Raphael Trotman

From left are Dominic Gaskin, Cathy Hughes, Sherod Duncan and Raphael Trotman

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Speaking at press conference on October 24, AFC Treasurer Dominic Gaskin explained that the naming of the Presidential and PM candidates by the APNU and AFC respectively remains a “fundamental and non-negotiable tenet” of the coalition.           

“The AFC has advised the APNU that it cannot proceed with any further discussions until this matter is resolved. The AFC finds it unacceptable that the matter of the Presidential and Prime Ministerial candidates has been repeatedly deferred”, he told reporters this morning.

The AFC had selected Ramjattan as its prime ministerial candidate following a bruising internal battle but it was later made clear by APNU that this was not a done deal.

According to Gaskin at its National Executive Committee meeting on November 2nd the party will decide on its mode of participation in the upcoming General and Regional Elections.

The AFC’s February 14, 2015 accord with APNU was seen as the key factor in the defeat of the PPP/C at the May 2015 general elections.

The key features of the Accord were that the AFC would have the prime ministerial position in the government and 12 seats in Parliament.

However there have been grumblings from hardliners within APNU – particularly its main component, the PNCR – that the AFC had gotten disproportionately high benefits from the Accord and that this had to be reeled in.

Meanwhile the AFC had also been unhappy with its allocation of seats at the historic 2016 LGE and had pressed at various points for an adjustment in this area. Matters came to a head at the 2018 LGE when APNU threw down the gauntlet and had the AFC contest the polls on its own in an apparent bid to have it show its real worth.

The poor showing of the AFC in the local government elections and its stance on a range of matters have been seen as diminishing its national standing and APNU hardliners have calculated that it will bring no electoral advantage to the coalition in 2020 and therefore the coalition should look elsewhere for a prime ministerial candidate.

It has been suggested that Minister of State Dawn Hastings-Williams is among the candidates being considered.

On August 12 this year, APNU and the AFC agreed that their ground-breaking Cummingsburg Accord should be revised and that this process could be completed within four weeks.

The AFC is led by the General Secretary David Patterson and includes National Executive members Dominic Gaskin and Dr. Vincent Adams. The A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) team is led by their General Secretary Joseph Harmon.
 

Lawrence says coalition negotiations not stalled

-talks to resume when Patterson returns

PNCR Chairwoman Volda Lawrence addressing reporters during a party press conference at Congress Place on Friday (PNCR photo)
PNCR Chairwoman Volda Lawrence addressing reporters during a party press conference at Congress Place on Friday (PNCR photo)

By Stabroek News October 26, 2019

One day after the Alliance for Change (AFC) declared that negotiations on a revised Cummingsburg Accord had stalled, A Partnership for National Unity’s (APNU) lead negotiator Volda Lawrence has disputed this claim.

“We have no indication from the AFC that these talks have come to an end, they are stalled or any of those issues that I see bandying about in the media,” Lawrence, also the Minister of Public Health and Chairwoman of the PNCR, told a press conference at PNCR headquarters, Congress Place, yesterday.

On Thursday, AFC Executive Dominic Gaskin announced that negotiations on a new accord had stalled due to APNU’s failure to accept the AFC’s Khemraj Ramjattan as the coalition’s prime ministerial (PM) candidate.

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