APNU, AFC leaders settled disagreements directly; no need for “cumbersome” dispute settlement body

Last Updated on Thursday, 2 February 2017, 14:07 by Denis Chabrol

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

The Alliance For Change (AFC) says the dispute-settlement mechanism in the political accord with A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) was never activated and may never be revived, leaving high-level political leaders to resolve most disagreements.

AFC Chairman, Khemraj Ramjattan said disputes with APNU have been resolved between himself, while party leader, and President David Granger as APNU leader, or between then General Secretary David Patterson and APNU General Secretary, Joseph Harmon.

“There was a provided for mechanism that we thought came off as a little cumbersome and especially with the advantage of dealing directly – the General Secretary to General Secretary and Leader to Leader, it resolved almost all of them,” Ramjattan told a news conference.

Describing the dispute mechanism in the Cummingsburg Accord as a “little bit complicated,”  the party Chairman seemed inclined to continue dispute resolutions at the leadership level. “I don’t know if we are going to fall back into that mechanism. It is a little complicated and when you are in such a good relationship with your partner, I think we can resolve it at the leader level or the general secretary level,” he said.

“There are, of course, some that are hard to resolve because of the financial and economic reality,” he added.

The Cummingsburg Accord provides for a three-member commission comprising a mutually agreed independent person as Chairman and two non-executive members of the AFC and APNU. That Commission was supposed to hear all legitimate complaints and recommend solutions which the two sides are bound to accept except if they are illegal. “The sittings and the content of the work of the adjudication commission are to be treated with the same level of confidentiality as that of the cabinet and only be released with the consent of the parties signatory to this accord,” the accord states.

The Cummingsburg Accord, which has a lifespan of 36 months, comes to an end in 2018.