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“Honest” and “efficient” government needed; no need for noise or deadlines – Granger on APNU-AFC talks

FLASH BACK: President David Granger and Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan. In the background is Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.

Chairman of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), President David Granger on Wednesday said he is keen on selecting an “honest government” to run Guyana should he win next year’s general elections, even as he flayed the Alliance For Change (AFC) for setting a deadline for ending negotiations for a revised political agreement between the two sides.

“The negotiations are determined by agreement, not be deadlines,” Granger said. Mr. Granger and AFC Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan are expected to hold another round of talks.

For the first time, the President expressed his dissatisfaction publicly about the AFC’s tone in the negotiations which included setting last Monday as the deadline after which that party would have pulled out and gone the March 2, 2020 general elections separately. “The question of a deadline would not necessarily bring about the best outcome. I am confident that were we to sit without noise, sit down soberly and quietly, we will arrive at a position that is best for Guyana,” the President said.

Mr. Granger did not hide his concerns at the AFC saying that it would launch a separate elections campaign. “I cannot understand why, in spite of that agreement, there should be an attempt to have a separate campaign… I don’t understand who made that suggestion and why it should be made at this stage of the discussions or the negotiations; that’s a mistake,” he said.

The APNU Chairman said the two sides should go into the talks based on principles including using Guyana’s constitution as the guide post for the talks. “The most important principle is that any agreement should be in accordance with the constitution of Guyana. That is not subject to deadlines or threats,” he said.

Mr. Granger said he wants representation in the National Assembly and government “which is honest and which is efficient”.

APNU insiders have said the 60-40 percentage of parliamentary seats with AFC, which was agreed to in the 2015 Cummingsburg Accord, would not be possible this time around and APNU was more interested in offering AFC 30 percent of the seats that would be won in the next elections.

The AFC has, by overwhelming majority, identified Mr. Ramjattan as Mr. Granger’s running mate. However, there is no clear indication from both sides that Ramjattan’s candidacy has been accepted by APNU.

Already, Mr. Granger has said a political agreement could not supersede Guyana’s constitution which gives him the right to pick his prime minister after the next general elections.

Messrs Granger and Ramjattan will be accompanied by APNU Chief Negotiator, Volda Lawrence and her AFC counterpart, David Patterson.