AFC didn’t work hard enough to deserve more councillors- sources

Last Updated on Thursday, 31 March 2016, 11:33 by Denis Chabrol

As councilors for Guyana’s nine towns prepare to be sworn in following recently held Local Government Elections (LGE), word has surfaced in some quarters that the Alliance For Change (AFC) did not campaign enough and so was not entitled to be rewarded with more seats.

A top AFC official has said that party could not legitimately demand more proportional representation seats from A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) because the AFC did not work as hard as it should have in the run-up to the LGE.

On the matter of the absence of consultations between APNU and AFC for the allocation of seats, another top official attributed that to a breakdown in communication. The Working People’s Alliance (WPA), which is part of APNU, was not consulted before the names of the councilors were submitted to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

On the issue of an absence of consultations among constituents of the APNU+AFC coalition, APNU’s seasoned elections official, Amna Ally told Demerara Waves Online News that it was the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils and Towns that decided who should have been councilors. “This is not about names that submitted. This is about a process that took place within the NDCs and the Towns. We ,as leaders, really facilitated the coming together and putting it in semblance and so on but these are names that came from the communities” she said.

Ally explained that criteria was worked out for the selection and submission of names. She said the criteria included membership, work in the community work.

She rubbished AFC claims that that party was allocated fewer than deserved seats in a council such as the Georgetown City Council. “I don’t think they were short-changed at all. As a matter of fact, I think what was delivered was what was put in,” she said.

Ally confirmed that APNU and AFC have agreed to a split in the mayor and deputy mayor positions for the towns that the coalition dominated.  For Georgetown: Patricia Chase-Green of APNU would be mayor, Sherod Duncan is Deputy Mayor;  New Amsterdam: Kurt Winter of the AFC would be mayor and Winifred Heywood of APNU would be deputy. Bartica:  The mayor would be APNU’s Gifford Marshall and his deputy would be Kamal Persaud.  In Mabaruma where there is a tie in the results, she said there would be a negotiated settlement.

Despite the discord between APNU and AFC over the selection of councilors, AFC General Secretary David Patterson  said the almost one-year old coalition administration was not on the brink collapsed. “Oh, no, definitely not because I said all matters, including the way forward for the coalition, was discussed and we reaffirm that the coalition should be standing,” he when asked by Demerara Waves Online News.

The APNU and AFC, he said, have crafted a joint 10-point press statement that addressed oversight, missteps, miscommunication, lack of structure and failure in existing mechanisms. “We do have a very concrete way forward which I think both or all entities in the APNU+AFC coalition  are happy with the way forward,” he said.

APNU+AFC won Georgetown, Linden, New Amsterdam and two new towns- Bartica and Lethem- while the opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) clinched victories in Anna Regina, Rose Hall and Corriverton.