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AFC, APNU talks break down over prime ministerial candidate but Trotman remains optimistic

AFC Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan (left) and Chairman of the People’s National Congress-dominated A Partnership for National Unity, David Granger.

Talks between A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) Wednesday collapsed over the smaller AFC party insisting that its nominee, Khemraj Ramjattan, should be accepted.

However, AFC Chairman, Raphael Trotman insisted that an agreement would be reached, but he declined to say whether that would see Ramjattan being accepted as President David Granger’s running mate. “There will be an agreement. I’m confident about that…There will be an agreement; there are a number of issues to be resolved,” Trotman told Demerara Waves Online News/News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM.

Sources have said among the hurdles yet to be cleared is the AFC giving a commitment and finding a mechanism for someone from the APNU/People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) to accede to the presidency should Granger no longer remain in office. The sources said such an understanding cannot be put in writing as it would be illegal because of the constitutional requirement for the Prime Minister to accede to the presidency in such a situation.

Also raised in the discussions was retaining incumbent Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo as the PNCR-led APNU feels more comfortable with him compared to Ramjattan who is considered outspoken and decisive.

President Granger is already on record as saying that the selection of a prime ministerial candidate was not automatic and a political agreement could not supersede Guyana’s constitution.

Trotman, who co-founded the AFC along with Ramjattan and the late Sheila Holder, stressed that there would be an agreement and “I trust that good sense will prevail on all sides.” “The people expect us to find an agreement and if we don’t, then we will be failing their expectations and desires,” he added.

Trotman said “it is not unusual for talks to be put on pause”, even as he awaited a full report. Asked whether this would adversely impact on APNU and the AFC contesting the March 2, 2020 general elections together, he said “as far as I know we are committed to going together so nothing has changed.”