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Jagdeo welcomes AFC Canada’s withdrawal; Chapter hasn’t discussed endorsing any other political party

Left to right: AFC Chairman, Khemraj Ramjattan; party leader, Raphael Trotman; General Secretary, Marlon Williams and Youths For Change leader, Cynthia Rutherford (file photo)

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo on Wednesday welcomed the decision by the Alliance For Change- Canada Chapter to withdraw from their political party, but the Chairman of that grouping Tameshwar Lilmohan said his grouping has not yet made up its mind about endorsing any other political grouping.

“They took a principled position and I saw the letter from that Chapter about how dishonest the leadership of the AFC has been with their members and that’s why, it’s not only Canada, right across the country, the AFC no longer exists across Guyana,” Jadgeo told a news conference one day after the AFC Canada Chapter released a letter that it sent last week to the party leadership in Guyana.

Apart from reactions by AFC Chairman, Khemraj Ramjattan the AFC has not issued any statement on the Canada Chapter’s withdrawal.

However, the Chairman of the AFC Canada Chapter, Lilmohan said his grouping has withdrawn  tentatively and has given the AFC top brass an opportunity to give into a number of their demands.  Asked whether teaming up with the PPP was an option, Lilmohan said that was not discussed. “We are not in a position at this stage to make a decision about joining any political force. We are going to give the AFC an opportunity to address the issues we have pointed out and this is where we stand.

In the meantime, whatever progressive methods, means and ways are possible to help the quest for democracy, the struggle for democracy, the struggle and quest for an objective view, accountability, national unity- we are prepared to support those measures but we are not aligned to any other political party for the time being,” he said.

He accused the AFC of having a “full alignment with the PNC (People’s National Congress) government” and has as a result lost its independence and purpose.

For his part, Jagdeo said the PPP has been attracting APNU supporters. “I have said to our party structures, people on the ground, supporters that those people who have been coming to us can find a place in our party ..many are joining our party, many don’t want to join but they are working on the ground helping us in the communities,” he said.

Those demands include denouncing the recent appointment of Retired Justice James Patterson as Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), revamping of the Cummingsburg Accord- a Valentine’s Day 2015 political pact between the AFC and the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR)-dominated A Partnership for National Unity  and embarking on reform of Guyana’s Constitution.

“This an open secret with all supporters and members of the AFC. There is a serious, serious lack of communication. There is a clear sense of disrespect after the election. No one has communicated with us. They have visited this country (Canada) on several occasions, senior members, and they have failed even to call the simplest of meetings,  never met with any of the members,” said Lilmohan who is also on the AFC’s National Executive Committee (NEC).

He flayed the AFC leadership for organising NEC meetings without putting in place proper telecommunication facilities for the diaspora representatives to participate. In his case, he said he has not participated in such meetings because the AFC has lost its independence. “The committee has no valuable function. It does not act in an independent manner in any way. It seems to carry the government line all the time and on many occasions they are set up in such a manner that you can’t participate in them through the telecommunication system they would have set up,” he said.

Jagdeo, who is also the PPP’s General Secretary, declared that the AFC has virtually disappeared as an electoral force. “They are done on the ground. Done! It exists only here in the coalition.”

The former Guyanese leader said the PPP was busy debunking accusations of corruption, racial discrimination, the alleged killing of 400 African Guyanese while he was in office and that Afro-Guyanese did not benefit significantly when the PPP was in government.