The remark was made at a party news conference on Thursday with Treasurer Dominic Gaskin indicating that it was in response to comments in sections of the media.
“While we recognise the right of all individuals to join the political party of their choosing we call on those same individuals to recognise and respect that the party was founded on the need for greater political options than hitherto presented by the PPP/C and the PNC,” he said.
He added that it was in that context the AFC asserted its independence and reiterated that their decisions in the National Assembly stemmed from “honest and earnest deliberations” from a wide cross section of views and careful examination of relevant information.
“We will sacrifice this independent approach to appease a small but vociferous group of so-called political experts.
Three important members of the AFC North American chapter defected to the APNU in recent days after sharp irreconcilable differences about campaign strategies and party management.
They are Economist, Tarron Khemraj, businessman Rab Mukraj and Political Science Professor, Asquith Rose. Former soldier Malcolm Harripaul, who had long switched allegiance to the APNU, has been formally added to the list of defectors. This latest batch adds to the irrevocable resignation of Shamir Ally, a financier and lobbyist for the AFC, because of concerns over leadership approaches.
But following their departure it was Chairman of the AFC’s New York/New Jersey Chapter Dr. Rohan Somar who released a statement saying that the defectors wanted the AFC to align with the APNU to go into the next elections.
“They found the Chapter’s resistance to that hard to crack and hence walked into the arms of the PNC-APNU. We rate one of the AFC’s founding principles very highly, namely, that the AFC must be independent from the PPP and PNC/APNU. If that founding principle is not upheld or observed, then and only then will you see the demise of this NY-NJ AFC Chapter and the AFC nationally,” Dr. Somar said.
And reports surfaced on Wednesday that another AFC stalwart, Berbice attorney Charrandas Persaud had quit over grievances with the party.
Professor Rose has said that as many as 11 persons have decided to walk away from the AFC which holds a key seven-seat balance of power in the 65-seat National Assembly. He said several of them would go to APNU and the remainder back to the governing Peoples Progressive Party.