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Guyana’s opposition parties considering electoral “platform”

As talks toward a pro-democracy alliance progress, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) says it does not believe that signing the Alliance For Change’s (AFC) non-disclosure agreement before the party presents its proposal for jointly contesting upcoming general and regional elections.

APNU General Secretary, Joseph Harmon appeared to be cautiously optimistic about the commencement and future of talks between the two parliamentary opposition parties.”We have commenced conversations on the issue of a platform for the next elections…I think it is important to say that we have basically started a process which can see some form of arrangement for the next elections.”

If Harmon’s sentiments on the non-disclosure agreement is also that of APNU, talks between the two parties on the pro-democracy alliance proposed AFC may become eventful as the AFC, suggested earlier this
month that it wanted the APNU to first sign the agreement before any steps were taken.

APNU leader David Granger had told Caribbean News Desk “we cannot commit ourselves to a course of action when we do not know what that course of action is.”

Harmon said that “the no-disclosure agreement… had to be amended. There is an amended version that is now before us yesterday that we are now considering.” Asked if it was the APNU which asked for the changes to be made he said “we did say that there were some issues which we needed to have adjusted and they (the AFC) did, in fact, at their own volition make some amendments.”

Harmon also said that discussions between himself and AFC General Secretary David Patterson has not seen the setting of a deadline, but said that “we will overcome that hurdle soon.”

Patterson acknowledged that himself and Harmon “met, discussed the issues on non-disclosure and came to an agreement on an acceptable version for APNU.” APNU is yet to sign in to this agreement but Patterson says he is happy with progress made so far.

In any case, Harmon says that the “non-disclosure agreement is not the crux of the matter.” “The important issue is that we have started our conversation,” he explained.

Neither of the two men was prepared to divulge the details of their conversations had so far. Patterson has
told Caribbean News Desk that the two sides have had “in-depth, meaningful discussions” though they “still have a far way to go.”

The AFC has already signalled its interest in leading the pro-democracy movement of political parties, individuals, labour, business and civil society organisations. But Granger has said that consideration should be given to his APNU’s numerical strength.

In light of an announcements by President Donald Ramotar that he intend to dissolve Parliament and hold General Elections earlier this year the AFC has proposed a pro-democracy alliance to the APNU and another other willing group which it is desirous of leading. Granger, on the other hand, has noted that the APNU has nearly 4 times seating of the AFC, and expressed hopes that this will be considered in discussions.

What is to be seen is if this proposal will be accepted.