Hours after the Alliance For Change (AFC) publicly expressed concern about the way an almost two year old political agreement with A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) is working , President David Granger said he is committed to the pact.
“His Excellency, President David Granger takes this opportunity to recommit the APNU to the Cummingsburg Accord,” the Ministry of the Presidency said in a statement.
The 36-month accord expires in 2018.
The reassurance was contained in a congratulatory message to Raphael Trotman on his election as AFC Leader at that party’s National Conference which was held at the Vreed-en-Hoop Primary School, West Bank Demerara.
Trotman, a former executive member of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), appears to have long won Granger’s admiration. In making up his Cabinet shortly after the May 2015 general elections, Granger selected Trotman to serve in key positions- first as Minister of Governance and later Minister of Natural Resources- without the AFC’s input.
In congratulating Trotman on his election as leader, the President said the AFC is “an essential component” of the governing APNU+AFC coalition. “His Excellency, President David Granger and the partners of the APNU look forward to working very closely with Mr. Trotman and the new leadership of the AFC as we work together to achieve a better life for all Guyanese,” according to the Ministry of the Presidency statement.
At the opening of the AFC’s National Conference, then party General Secretary, David Patterson said based on the performance of the AFC’s ministers their party “has been the outstanding partner in the coalition government up to this point.”
At the same time, he expressed concern that the Valentine’s Day pact called the Cummingsburg Accord was not working properly at the local levels. “The day-to-day administration of the accord is much less than desirable. The interface between the coalition partners at all levels has not been the best, although at the Cabinet and ministerial level the working relations have been excellent,” he said.
Patterson said a stalemate in talks between APNU and AFC on how to overcome a gap in the Cummingsburg Accord on contesting local government elections has resulted in defeat in some areas. “One of the main weaknesses of the accord was the silence on how the coalition would treat with the local government elections. The coalition partners were not able, despite some effort, to reach an equitable political arrangement which led to a less than satisfactory outcome for those elections,” he said.
He, however, assured that the AFC was committed to the coalition, echoing then party leader, Khemraj Ramjattan and President Granger that coalition politics is here to stay.
Ramjattan lost the leadership to Trotman by two votes- 127-125 and Patterson was beaten by Marlon Williams 125- 83. Michael Carrington came in third with 12 votes for the General Secretary post.
Moses Nagamootoo did not contest the Vice Chairmanship or any other senior post in the party, saying it was time to pave the way for fresh faces. The new Vice Chair is Cathy Hughes who won 116 votes ahead of Valerie Garrido-Lowe with 76 and Audwin Rutherford 47 votes.