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AFC calls for end to “narrow” race, party politics as coalition talks deadline nears

Delegates at the AFC’s Conference held late last year at the St. Stanislaus College.

With less than two weeks to go before Guyanese will know whether the opposition would be uniting to contest the general elections in May, the Alliance For Change (AFC) on Thursday called for an end to narrow party and race politics.

“This mission can no longer be delayed and must not be hampered by narrow personal, ethnic or partisan interest, but be driven and embolden our leaders to take patriotic positions in the interest of Guyana; all of us are required to make some sacrifice to this end,”  the AFC said in a statement.

That party declined to give an update on the “deep discussions” it is holding with A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), saying that it was gagged by a non-disclosure agreement.

There have been in suggestions in some quarters that the AFC-APNU talks are not that smooth because the smaller party has been demanding the presidential candidacy in the name of Moses Nagamootoo as well as several other top positions. In an apparent effort to assuage its mainly East Indian support-base of disaffected ruling party supporters, the AFC has been touting its desire to lead the pro-democracy alliance.

The People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), the largest partner in APNU, on January 31 announced that its General Council- the highest decision-making body in between Congress- agreed to support David Granger’s leadership of the PNCR and as APNU’s Presidential Candidate for the May 11, 2015 General and Regional Elections.

Regardless of which way the talks go, two timelines are critical: February 14, 2015 when the AFC intends to report fully to its National Executive, and six days later on February 20, 2015 when APNU is expected to launch its general election campaign.

AFC said that  while the inter-party talks are being held, it is also preparing for the polls. “Concurrently, the AFC has been very busy putting its house in order to fully participate in the upcoming elections, and to end the tenure of the current administration, our party structures and activists are being prepared, our policies and programs are being fine-tuned by various taskforces of talented Guyanese both locally and in the diaspora, all with our eye on victory on election day. We are completing our new headquarters which will be ready in matter of days and it will be the national hub for our campaign activities,” said the party in a statement.

The AFC remained adamant that its pro-democracy alliance of like-minded political parties, civil society organisations, trade unions and individuals was “most necessary” in addressing the political and governance fronts caused by the rapidly deteriorating situation in the affairs of Guyana.

The AFC called for the priority by all “well-thinking Guyanese” to be the removal of the incumbent People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) from office for the first time in more than 22 years.

Giving a broad update, the AFC said its detailed Memorandum of Understanding to APNU covers important areas for improved governance of Guyana, matters of urgent and comprehensive constitution reform, reorganization and improvement of both the offices of the President and Prime Minister, possible size of a pro-democracy alliance cabinet, priority sets of developmental policies and timeframe for delivery by such a joint administration, and the political structure and possible campaign methodology and modality for a joint campaign.

The AFC added that the negotiating  teams  have  held  several  formal  working sessions  to  date,  in keeping  with  the  timeframe  publicly  committed  to  at  the  beginning  of  this process.