OVER the next four weeks, teams from the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance for Change (AFC) will be negotiating changes to the Cummingsburg Accord – the February 14 agreement that brought them together ahead of the 2015 General and Regional Elections.
The Cummingsburg Accord is due to expire on February 14, 2020 but with General and Regional Elections expected this year, the parties have agreed to revise the accord ahead of the elections. “It was agreed by the two parties that a revised Accord would be more desirable than drafting a completely new Accord at this stage. There was consensus that the finalised Accord would be agreed within four weeks of the most recent meeting,” the AFC said in a statement on Monday.
The AFC negotiating team is being led by its General Secretary David Patterson and includes National Executive members Dominic Gaskin and Dr. Vincent Adams, while the APNU team is led by its General Secretary Joseph Harmon.
The AFC confirmed that there is a broad agreement between the two parties that the existing Accord can be amended for better alignment with the Constitution and can accommodate additional guiding principles that may previously have been omitted.
However, it noted that the existing accord remains in effect, until its life expires or it is amended by mutual agreement.
“The AFC remains fully committed to coalition politics in the national interest. Coalition politics in this regard reinforces our core belief of a functional multi-ethnic, ‘multi-viewic’ society to unleash the energies of all our people regardless of race, class, religion or gender enabling all Guyanese to enjoy their fullest potential,” it said.
A review of the Cummingsburg Accord, the alliance posited, has engaged its full attention since 2017. However, recently the party met jointly with its Coalition partner and discussed a path forward in view of General and Regional Elections.
The revision of the Cummingsburg Accord was central among discussions when the AFC held its quarterly National Executive Committee (NEC) Meeting last Saturday at the Arthur Chung Convention Center.
In a recent interview, the APNU General Secretary assured the Guyana Chronicle that the Cummingsburg Accord will be revised ahead of the next General and Regional Elections. He said the APNU and AFC have been meeting, and the revision is the subject of active discussion.
“We are looking at the revision right now,” Harmon told this newspaper, while further disclosing that parties have agreed to principles that would guide them going forward.
“The important thing, however, is that we have agreed on some basic principles which will guide the relationship between the APNU and the AFC. Those statements of principles are agreed to and therefore it is clear that in the next elections we are going forward as APNU and AFC, a coalition,” the APNU General Secretary said.
According to him, ahead of the elections, the coalition will issue a statement on the Cummingsburg Accord, which will detail how they will proceed. However, he iterated that the APNU and AFC will remain a united force.