…Patterson says everything should be resolved by then
THE Alliance For Change (AFC) intends to wrap up negotiations with the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) this Thursday on the revised Cummingsburg Accord.
This is according to AFC’s Lead Negotiator, David Patterson. “We do intend that everything should be resolved by then,” Patterson told the Guyana Chronicle in a brief interview on Tuesday. Initially, AFC had hoped to sign off on the revised Cummingsburg Accord by November 10.
According to Patterson, AFC’s Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan, wrote President David Granger – the Chairman of the APNU – and indicated “the extent of which discussions can go on.”
Patterson anticipates that the negotiating teams, on Thursday, will discuss the content of the letter sent to President Granger, in his capacity as Chairman of the APNU. Over the past two weeks, President Granger and the AFC leader have been meeting to iron out issues that the negotiating teams were unable to effectively address.
Top on the agenda was the method of nominating the prime ministerial candidate – an issue which was addressed when the two leaders met at State House on October 31, 2019.
Speaking publicly on the issue last Wednesday, President Granger said when the time is right; he will choose a Prime Ministerial Candidate who will deliver the best results based on nominees recommended.
“I am a prudent and wise leader and I will make a choice which I feel will deliver the best result for the people, the best outcome for the people of Guyana. My objective, and I am sure the objective of the six parties, would be to ensure that Guyana gets the best, and we are working on that,” President Granger told reporters at the Ministry of the Presidency.
Mr. Granger is the Presidential Candidate of the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition for the much-anticipated March 2, 2020 elections. While the coalition has thrown its full support behind him for a second term in Office, the method of identifying a prime ministerial candidate for the coalition has been the subject of active discussion as the APNU and AFC revise the Cummingsburg Accord – the agreement which brought them together ahead of the 2015 elections.
The Head of State maintained that as the Cummingsburg Accord goes under revision, it is important to uphold the Constitution of Guyana. Under the near expired 2015 Cummingsburg Accord, the two sides had agreed that the APNU would nominate the presidential candidate, and the AFC, the prime ministerial candidate. However, the APNU+AFC presidential candidate has made it clear that it is the President, under the Constitution, who appoints a prime minister.
However, reliable sources told the Guyana Chronicle that during the first high-level meeting between President Granger and the Leader of the AFC, the two sides agreed that the AFC would nominate the Prime Ministerial Candidate.
Under Cummingsburg Accord, the APNU was allocated 60 per cent of the seats won by the government in the National Assembly, while the remaining 40 per cent went to the AFC. “Both sides have shifted their starting ratio from 60:40, but no agreement,” the source said.
It was the AFC that had proposed that the 60:40 ratio be maintained, but this was reportedly rejected by the APNU during the talks. After numerous rounds of negotiations, the 70:30 ratio is now on the table, but the sides have not yet agreed on a formula.
Ahead of the negotiation, the APNU and AFC had committed to uphold the Constitution and to ensure that no agreement or action collides with, or contradicts, the articles of the Constitution.
The two sides had also agreed to a number of core principles, and committed to the establishment of a system of inclusionary democracy, and the advancement of the country’s Green State Development Strategy, Vision 2040.