AFC top guns in leadership race
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THREE of the top guns of the Alliance for Change (AFC) have been nominated for the leadership post of the party, which will hold its National Conference on January 28, 2017.

Vying for the position will be Moses Nagamootoo and co-founders of the party Khemraj Ramjattan and Raphael Trotman. Ramjattan is the current leader of the party. These three individuals were also nominated for position of Chairman, along with a lone female candidate, Catherine Hughes.

For the position of Vice-Chairman, the incumbent Moses Nagamootoo, along with Valerie Garrido-Lowe, Catherine Hughes, Audwin Rutherford, and Raphael Trotman were nominated. Nominated for the position of General Secretary were; Michael Carrington, Alison Mohamed and Marlon Williams and the incumbent, David Patterson.

The AFC said that, in addition to these nominations, there is also keen interest in and competition for the 12 National Executive Committee (NEC)positions with a total of 73 nominees. Apart from those 12 elected members of the NEC, each Regional Management Committee and overseas chapter, along with the party’s women’s arm, Women-For-Change and its youth arm, Youth-For-Change, are entitled to send a representative to the NEC meetings.

Additionally, the NEC can co-opt up to five members, if the need arises, for additional representation in particular areas. The AFC has an Electoral College voting system comprising 275 delegates, which span the ten administrative regions.

The women’s arm of the party Women-For-Change (WFC) has 10 delegates, while its youth arm, Youths-For-Change (YFC) has 10 delegates. The diaspora has 25 delegates; nine from the USA Chapter, six from the Canada Chapter, six from the Caribbean Chapter, and four from the United Kingdom Chapter.

The Returning Officer for the elections will be Mr. Clayton Hall. The party noted that the National Conference will also consider over a dozen Motions and Resolutions on a wide array of matters. The submitted Motions and Resolutions are currently being reviewed by a Special Committee set up by the party’s Management Committee.

AFC will remain united

Meanwhile, Trotman, the current Minister of Natural Resources told reporters on Wednesday evening at a reception at the Chinese Embassy on Mandela Avenue, that the AFC will remain united, despite the outcome of the elections.

He said that he has been nominated by several persons and he plans to represent them to the best of his ability. The founding member noted that he will serve in whatever capacity he is elected within the party, noting that his nomination provided him with added confidence to serve the AFC.

Of importance, Trotman said that the elections will capture the vision of the AFC, noting that the party brings strength and value to the Coalition government.

“And we meet the people’s expectations, the people expect us to be a strong and vibrant party,” he said.

Trotman added that the AFC‘s vision is not premised on race but rather a “commonality of purpose,” noting that whoever presents the best possibilities to the party will become eventual winners.

Meanwhile, Hughes told the Guyana Chronicle on Wednesday evening that the elections will provide the party with an opportunity to regroup and “get back out on the road”.

She said that she is honored to be nominated for the Vice Chair and Chairmanship of the party. She described the AFC as “a baby,” noting that she is committed to the development of the party.

Hughes said the party has an important role to play in the political landscape of Guyana, as she noted its 11 years in existence. She said the elections follow a democratic process, and the results will be up to the membership to decide.

Hughes noted that the philosophy of the AFC is to bridge the racial divide, noting that there is a history in Guyana of looking at race during elections processes.

“I would like to think we represent a wide cross section of Guyanese,” she said, noting that competency and commitment is of more value to the AFC. She also refuted suggestions that the AFC has “died “or is “swamped” by the APNU.

Asked what she brings to the table for Saturday’s elections, Hughes believes that there are not many women participating at the political level in Guyana. She said the constant negatives and personal attacks could be a factor, noting that politics here has not really matured. She noted that certain situations require a woman’s perspective.

According to Hughes, the party is young and its members sit around a table and discussions are open for anyone to make an input. Hughes said it has not been easy transitioning from opposition to government, noting that the party has done research and remains committed to the governance of the country.

Hughes also spoke to the women’s arm of the AFC, ‘Women for Change,’ which she said is looking to expand its reach. As it relates to the road ahead, she expressed hope that the thinking within the AFC continues being one which is “out of the box”, as she recalled the party being considered the ones who “will push the envelope.”

She said being in government is different, noting that the party has a responsibility to play its role within the government.

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