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AFC sets Nov 10 to conclude negotiations with APNU

The Alliance For Change (AFC) has set a November 10 deadline to conclude negotiations with A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) for a revised political agreement that is likely to include more government jobs, AFC Chief Negotiator David Patterson said Saturday.

“There are three items of which two may have to go to the high-level committee but there are two or three items which we are quite close. There are three items we haven’t actually signed off on. There are a lot of words and refining and so on to ensure the Accord doesn’t collide with the constitution so the lawyers are looking at a little part,” Mr. Patterson said.

Speaking with News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM/Demerara Waves Online News, Mr. Patterson said the AFC did not merely want provisions for party members to get diplomatic posts in the 2015 pact styled the Cummingsburg Accord. “All of those are included and we are to reach a common agreement on that…We have looked at government as a whole, Wherever government representation is – here, local, and whatever it is – we have looked at government as a whole in this revised accord,” he said,

Other AFC sources have said the party was also interested in getting greater representation at local government councils as there had been concerns at the 2016 and 2018 local government elections that the Accord contained no such provision resulting in the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR)-controlled APNU dominating many of the councils.

However, Mr. Patterson virtually ruled out the AFC demanding more local government seats in the town and neighbourhood councils. “We did have an initial discussion on if we should include local government elections but we felt that how the local government elections are so unique. It’s eighty-one different elections and we need to be specific that we can’t have an overarching declaration on how we are going to go at it but we both agreed that we’ll address that immediately after we have assumed office in March, 2020,” he said,

Asked whether the issue of the prime ministerial candidacy was now settled based on talks with President David Granger earlier this week and the AFC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting, the AFC Chief Negotiator reiterated that progress has been made.

Saturday’s NEC meeting, Mr Patterson said, also agreed on the campaign plan, and appointed him as AFC Campaign Director.

AFC Executive Member, Cathy Hughes told her party’s 14th anniversary celebration outside its Railway Embankment, Kitty, headquarters that ever since the party was born, “everybody has been trying to stop us growing” but “you cannot stop the AFC at all”. In apparent reference to APNU’s seeming reluctance to accept AFC Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan as Mr. Granger’s running mate, she remarked that “you know we had a lot of people who want to fight him down, but he is our man, right?”

Boasting that her party does not write letters to the newspapers or shout, she said the AFC sits quietly. “Come March 2, we are going to go in and we are gonna do the job like we did it before and when they want to tell you all the negatives about us”, she noted.

“We have power, we have strength and we are going to make sure that we exercise it. We got to go forward as a team. We got to work together and now is the time to make sure that in every single area that you are living in, we start to walk the ground again. I know many of you have been doing it but we have to get up to the mass action.” she said.