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AFC “battle-ready” if talks with APNU collapse next Monday

The Sheila Holder Centre for Change – the AFC headquarters on Railway Embankment Road, Kitty.

The Alliance For Change (AFC) on Friday vowed to walk away from talks with A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) next week Monday if the two parties fail to reach agreement on the allocation of seats after the next general elections.

Following talks between APNU Chairman, David Granger and AFC Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan, Negotiator Dominic Gaskin made it clear that “the AFC has agreed to a final meeting” to be held next Monday to settle the lone thorny issue. “The party must, therefore, complete all negotiations by Monday, November 18th and this deadline will no longer be extended,” said Gaskin who is Granger’s son-in-law.

APNU, sources said, have already agreed that Ramjattan would be Granger’s running mate in keeping with a revised political agreement styled the Cummingsburg Accord that was signed at Georgetown Club in North Cummingsburg on February 14, 2015.

Gaskin said his party was preparing its manifesto and would be prepared to meet with APNU to work out a common package of promises to the electorate for the March 2, 2020 general elections. He added that the campaign programme was also being finalised.

AFC Deputy Campaign Manager, Leonard Craig said his party was ready to contest the regional and general elections in all 10 administrative regions without the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR)-dominated APNU. “AFC is ready. We desire a partnership with the APNU. It is the preferred way to go in these elections but we are battle-ready and with or without our partners, we are ready to go and all of our plans are in place,” said Craig.

AFC wants a greater share of the political pie, with a confirmed presence on the administrative councils, parliamentary seats, ministerial seats and ambassadorial appointments.

AFC sources have said their party have been guaranteed ministerial portfolios for public security, public infrastructure, telecommunications, and natural resources. It is unclear whether the AFC would be given the agriculture portfolio again due to concerns about the performance of Minister Noel Holder.

Gaskin assured that the APNU+AFC formula is the best option but his party was also mindful that there are negotiations. “We think that is a winning formula and we want to maintain that formula,” said Gaskin, a former Minister of Business until the Courts ruled earlier this year that dual citizenship holders could not be candidates or parliamentarians as that would be unconstitutional.