Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan Saturday said if he did not back down from his original position of not linking up with A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) would have retained government.
“There was a huge amount of thought that went into it,” he said.
Months before the May 11, 2015 general and regional elections, Ramjattan had ruled out coalescing with APNU for fear that the AFC’s largely Indo-based support base and those were fed up with the PPP and People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) would have abandoned that large third party.
Speaking with Demerara Waves Online News after the official opening of the AFC’s office on Railway Embankment Road, Kitty, Georgetown, Ramjattan said that he had felt that his party would have “done damage as an independent party” to the PPP and it would have resulted in an APNU-led minority government. However, Ramjattan explained that analyses had later showed that the PPP would have beaten APNU and again clinch the presidency as it had done in 2011.
“Then is when I had to make a huge decision because indeed, I had come out and said that it (AFC) might be political dead meat but when I watched that which was presented to me- some poll results and the thinking of some of our major leaders…I decided, as Leader, we must not allow this third occasion that we were going to an elections to make that mistake that again,” he said.
The AFC Leader singled out his party’s co-founder, Raphael Trotman, and Nigel Hughes for their analyses that had showed him that an APNU and AFC coalition would have most likely oust the PPPC from office at the next elections.
He credited APNU and PNC Leader, David Granger with understanding the AFC’s demands while the smaller party was appreciative of his (Granger’s) difficulties and challenges. “Our analysis was bang on because had we not done that look what would have happened,” he said.
Addressing the official launching session, AFC Vice Chairman Moses Nagamootoo recalled Ramjattan’s then hard-line stance against APNU whose largest partner is the Afro-Guyanese dominated PNC-Reform. “It was to his courage and his political savvy that he came around to the idea by the time that were tabling the motion of no-confidence in the then government that Khemraj realized that coalition politics was the only option to unseat a most corrupt regime and we didn’t have two shots at it. We either did it in 2015 or we didn’t do it at all,” said the Prime Minister.
He acknowledged that the AFC could not have been part of a government if it had not reached out to another political organisation. “In Guyana, the Alliance For Change could have never, ever seen the corridors of political power if it had not reocgnised an important element which is the diverse nature of Guyanese politics and that the only way that you could have overcome the divisiveness of the society is to opt for an alliance politics and it was the alliance politics and the coalition idea that spurred this AFC into office in partnership with others,” he said.
President David Granger, in brief remarks stressed that coalition politics in which all views contend would continue for decades to come. “Within the Coalition, we do not seek to obliterate the view of any component. It is our commitment as a coalition to make sure that the people will always come first above personal interest, even above party interest. We have been able to create a vision for Guyana in which the national interest will prevail.
Nagamootoo recalled that prior to his resignation from the PPP in October, 2011 after almost 50 years there, he had demanded that action be taken against his then party colleagues who had been linked to corruption, death squads and the PPP’s leadership concubinage with the underworld.
The AFC was co-founded by Trotman, Ramjattan and the late Sheila Holder.