…President says APNU respects AFC’s decision on LGE
PRESIDENT David Granger on Monday said the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), a member of the governing Coalition, respects the Alliance for Change (AFC) decision to contest Local Government Elections (LGE) alone.
Mr Granger, who is also the Chairman of the APNU, said that there is no danger in the APNU and AFC parties going to the November 12, 2018 polls separately.
In response to questions posed by the Guyana Chronicle at the conclusion of a ceremony for the 33rd death anniversary of the People’s National Congress (PNC) party’s founder leader, Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham, at the Place of Heroes in the Botanical Gardens, President Granger said, “This is an AFC decision; we did exchange certain memoranda, and the APNU had drafted its own core principles. And we submitted those principles to the AFC for their consideration.”
President Granger explained that the move by the AFC is an internal one, which the APNU respects. “This is internal decision making in the AFC,” he said, “but we respect their decision. And AFC, I think, respects the decision within the APNU.”
Asked by this publication whether he is concerned by the AFC’s move to go it alone for the LGE, the President said, “This is entirely a local matter; it is entirely a party political matter, but we do not feel there is any danger that the Coalition is in jeopardy.”
He assured reporters present that the APNU and AFC are committed to Coalition politics. “It is my view that both the AFC and APNU remain committed to Coalition politics, and this in no way will damage the strength of our two parties going into general and regional elections,” said President Granger.
GO IT ALONE
The president’s comments followed a statement issued by the AFC on Sunday indicating that it will contest the LGE alone. “This decision was reached following inconclusive negotiations with APNU,” the party said.
Like the President, Amna Ally, General-Secretary of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), told the Guyana Chronicle that the APNU is fully prepared for the polls.
When asked for a comment regarding the AFC’s position, Ally said she can only speak for APNU’s preparation for the elections. “We have made strides in various areas; we have started our work,” she said, noting that APNU will be contesting the LGE in all the constituencies.
“We have the capacity to do well in all areas,” she said.
In February this year, the AFC announced that it was committed to contesting the elections with its Coalition partner, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).
However, the party pointed out at the time that its position was subject to the mutual resolution of a set of issues it had put forward.
The AFC was quick to point out on Sunday that its latest decision applies only to the November 12 polls, “and does not, in any way, affect the APNU+AFC coalition government, nor does it in any way change the AFC’s position on Coalition politics at the national level.”
The party has reaffirmed its commitment to the APNU+AFC coalition, and said its Management Committee has resolved into the LGE Campaign Committee.
The AFC has noted, too, that it is in full preparation mode for LGEs, including hosting meetings in the various constituencies and identifying potential candidates who will be subject to a rigorous internal vetting process before official appointment.
“Candidates will be addressing the local issues which are of concern to citizens, and working collaboratively to find practical and implementable solutions,” the party said.
The AFC is currently determining which municipalities and constituencies it will strategically contest, as it does not envision contesting in each Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) and in every constituency of all municipalities until subsequent election cycles.
The party said it is confident of the support it will continue to receive from the populace and assured citizens that it will only nominate candidates of the highest calibre and quality.
In February, the AFC announced that party leader, Raphael Trotman was mandated to write leader of the APNU, President David Granger, stating the party’s position on the issues of concern.
“The timeframe for a resolution and an agreement with APNU is the end of April 2018,” the AFC stated, while adding that it is cognisant that there are areas in the relationship that are working well and others that need to be examined and strengthened.
Additionally, the AFC stated that “the recommendations from AFC’s review of the Cummingsburg Accord will be pursued with APNU with a view of strengthening and enforcing the accord, not just for Local Government Elections, but particularly for the 2020 General Elections, which members saw as the bigger picture.”
February 14, 2018, marked three years since the AFC entered into an agreement with APNU to contest the 2015 General and Regional Elections – a move which proved victorious for both parties.
On the anniversary of the Cummingsburg Accord, President Granger said the AFC had several options – proceed with the accord as it is, allow it to expire at 2020, or make a request for a meeting.
The opposition People’s Progressive Party in a statement saw the move by the AFC as a “ploy” to weaken its support base, as it believes there is where the AFC will be campaigning.