AFC puts brake on Harmon’s overreach- AFC General Secretary

Last Updated on Friday, 7 October 2016, 14:34 by Denis Chabrol

Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan and Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.

Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan and Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.

Alliance For Change (AFC) General Secretary, David Patterson says his party has succeeded in eliminating overreach by Minister of State, Joseph Harmon but has fallen short on communication with A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) at the grassroots level.

Speaking at his party’s bi-weekly news conference, Patterson was hard-pressed to say whether the AFC has been successful in getting Harmon’s ministerial powers reduced. After urging members of the media to observe and they would see, Patterson relented by saying what he has been seeing.

“Clear delineation of authority, no blurring of authority, clear delineation of ministerial responsibilities, no over-lapping, no grey areas which was the genesis of several of the issues reported. That’s not happening and I challenge you to see if there is any overlap anywhere,” said Patterson who is also the Minister of Public Infrastructure.

Patterson added that there are now a Cabinet Secretary and Deputy Cabinet Secretary.

The AFC had earlier this year raised serious concerns at Cabinet that Harmon’s powers, including the responsibility of Cabinet Secretary, needed to be reduced. Shortly after his return from a trip to China, in which he had been seen in a photograph  aboard a plane with top officials of Baishan Lin, Harmon had ordered Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) to stand down on the seizure of a number of vehicles from that company.

For his part, President David Granger had said that he had taken steps to ensure that there were no intrusions in the work of other ministers.

Ahead of the AFC’s National Conference that is slated to be held before year-end, the General Secretary said the major constraint in relations between the AFC and APNU is poor communication among party supporters at the lower level.

Patterson accepted full blame for such a situation, saying that party members and supporters at the grassroots level often times stick to the last position at the National  Conference but fail to consider that situations often change and so they need to make adjustments.