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Names of APNU+AFC councillors submitted to GECOM without consultations; Political Scientists weigh in on issue

Even as President David Granger says he is preparing to hold talks with Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan on the latter’s concerns that APNU has taken the majority of seats, the names of would-be councilors have been already submitted to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) by political parties and groups.

Two Political Scientists have since heaped criticism on A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) for failing to concern internally or externally with the AFC before the names of the persons who were identified to become coalition councilors were submitted to GECOM.

Repeated efforts to reach APNU electoral point-person, Amna Ally were futile.

Ramjattan and a senior official of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) told Demerara Waves Online News on Monday that they did not know that the list for the councilors representing APNU+AFC has been already submitted.

“We are not aware of the submission of any names. One would believe that in a coalition that at least you would be advised of the names that have been submitted; that there would be a gathering of party representatives and we look at the names and we decide who should go forward,” a WPA official told Demerara Waves on condition of anonymity.

Deputy Chief Elections Officer, Vishnu Persaud told Demerara Waves that the names for all local authority areas, including Georgetown, have been submitted. Sources said now that the names have been dispatched to GECOM, they could only be replaced if persons resign or die.

A disgruntled and upset AFC member said top officials of his party, who should have ensured that key coalition issues were addressed, have failed to do so but  now appear more concerned about the perks and privileges of ministerial offices.

Political Scientist, Freddie Kissoon argued that the APNU- which he said is basically the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR)- should have been consulted with the AFC although the latter party’s electoral fortunes have been dwindling. “Morally, you have to consult them because you did not go into the election as APNU or PNC and at all times moral politics should hold sway above pragmatic politics because the world revolves around moral obligations and given the risk of infighting that is too great, they should have consulted the AFC,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.

Like Kissoon, another Political Scientist, Dr. Henry Jeffrey said the PNC’s political directorate should also consider the moral arguments that the AFC should have been treated better because it contributed to the perception that led Guyanese to vote somewhat more for the coalition in the May 11, 2015 general elections that resulted in the removal of the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) from office for the first time in 23 years.

Jeffrey castigated select APNU persons selected who submitted the names of the would-be councilors to GECOM without consulting anyone. “It’s absurd, it’s disrespectful of all of the people in the coalition because you don’t know where the decision came from to send all these names….It is unacceptable in terms of our Guyanese political tradition,” he said. Jeffrey recalled that Granger is already on record as saying that he would make political parties less relevant.

However, Jeffrey believed that despite this latest bickering, the coalition would survive in office. “They are going to stay together largely because they want to stay in power and the other parties are too small to make any shake that can necessarily disrupt the coalition to go forward,” he said.

Meanwhile, President Granger told reporters on Sunday that he planned to meet with the AFC Leader to ascertain what his concerns were while noting that the coalition did not have a concrete accord. “On the part of the coalition, in my view we have not reached any agreement, understandings or protocols so I am not sure what the bases of the comments are. Mr. Ramjattan has not actually expressed a view. What the papers seems to be saying is that the other persons have expressed views but it would be premature for me to assume what his concerns are,” he said.