Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo on Friday disclosed that he would not be contesting any of the top posts of the Alliance For Change (AFC) when the party holds its National Conference on Saturday.
That leaves the door open for the posts of Leader, Chairman and Vice Chairman to be contested by incumbent party leader, Khemraj Ramjattan, co-founder Raphael Trotman and Executive Member Catherine Hughes.
Nagamootoo said he is available to be elected as an ordinary executive member to give guidance to the AFC and groom new faces by supporting our proposing an amendment to that party’s constitution to include a Deputy Leader and two Vice Chairmen. “I would support any change in the party constitution that would broaden the shoulder of the leadership, that would bring more persons in,” he said.
Nagamootoo said he would be ending his 54 years in political leadership positions by declining nominations at the AFC’s highest decision-making body. “I think I have given it a long run and I want to come out of narrow partisan politics at the leadership level,” he said when asked by Demerara Waves Online News.
The incumbent AFC Vice Chairman said he informed his party’s leadership two weeks ago that he would not be contesting for Leader, Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary or Treasurer. “I am not in the run and I have indicated to the leadership and I have indicated to the leadership,” he said. Nagamootoo said he did not attend the AFC’s Region Four meeting at which nominations were made because he did not want to give the impression that he was lobbying the delegates. “The Prime Minister’s image has weight so I withdrew myself to allow the meeting to take place,” he said.
“I am out. I am not in the hustle for the top posts but if the party feels that they need me to continue, I shall be glad to do so as a member of the Executive Committee but I want to continue to devote more time to the post of Prime Minister and to make the AFC alliance work in the coalition,” he said.
Ramjattan on Thursday said he would be contesting the post of party leader again because the membership has asked him to continue serving. “The membership of the party and the fact that I feel that I have provided leadership that is of a high quality, not that Raphael (Trotman) can’t do that but just like Raphael will tell you it should not exclude me. I don’t ever think that Raphael has said that it should exclude me,” said Ramjattan who was kicked out of the now People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) for his liberal views.
For his part, Trotman said Ramjattan and other members have asked him to re-engage with the AFC. “I am responding to a request by many members to be available to the party so I have been nominated at several levels and I have said ‘yes’ to them. And also both Mr. Ramjattan and I have spoken and he, too, has encouraged me to reengage so I am responding but ultimately the delegates will determine where they would like to see me positioned,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.
The AFC co-founder said he is committed to seeing the APNU+AFC coalition return to power with an “enhanced role” should he be elected Leader of Chairman. “My pre-eminent interest is seeing the coalition return to power in the next elections and so I would be working very hard to get that done,” he said.
Trotman had been handpicked directly by President David Granger for a ministerial post and the AFC had nothing to do with his selection. He was also not elected to his party’s management committee.
The AFC was co-founded by Ramjattan, Trotman and the late Sheila Holder.