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APNU refuses to back AFC’s candidate for Region 10 Vice Chairmanship; Cathy Hughes says it’s a “deadlock” on principle

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 August 2022, 14:33 by Denis Chabrol

Coretta Braithwaite

The People’s National Congress Reform-led A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) on Tuesday said it was not in favour of the Alliance For Change’s (AFC) choice for Vice Chairmanship of Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Upper Berbice), but AFC Chairman Cathy Hughes said her party was not budging on its principle that it should be allowed to choose its elected leaders.

Mr. Aubrey Norton, who is also PNCR Leader, APNU Chairman and Opposition Leader, said APNU’s decision-makers in Region 10 did not  favour of AFC’s pick, Coretta Braithwaite.

“The issue was not whether it’s an AFC Vice Chairman. As far as I know, the APNU has been disposed to an AFC Vice Chair but it must not be somebody that is dictated by the AFC who doesn’t have the confidence of the APNU since they have to work together,” he told a news conference when asked by Demerara Waves Online News.

Mr Norton said AFC was already aware that APNU preferred another AFC Councillor to be the Vice Chairman, but he refused to name the person. “In fact, if they want to be honest, there is an AFC name that there is reasonable agreement on that could move forward,” he said.

Sources said the person that APNU prefers the AFC’s Mark Goring.

He deflected questions on why he thought APNU should decide who should be the AFC’s candidate to replace APNU’s Douglas Gittens died of COVID-19 in June 2021.

The Opposition Leader refused to divulge the preferred name, saying “the people are doing their internal negotiations and discussing among themselves” in the Region 10 Council.

Mr Norton also could not say whether he was aware of a timeline when the Vice Chairmanship of that region could be put to a vote. “I am saying to you direct your question to the actors in Region 10.”

AFC’s Hughes said that with voting on the Vice Chairmanship pushed back twice “we are more or less in a deadlock and we will act based on what transpires.” She maintained that only the AFC could select elected officials to sit in the National Assembly and councils rather than its coalition partner deciding who it can work with. “I know they say that which means in fact that they are choosing the person and our position is that if this is our choice, we have nothing to do with the persons who APNU choose for any of their positions,” she told Demerara Waves Online News.

Ms Hughes said in a coalition, the parties should be able to learn t0 work with each other, even as she sought to assure that “we would not be putting someone that we do not think is capable.”  She said AFC Councillors have been told that they should vote for Ms Braithwaite and not vote for any other councillor who is nominated.

Asked what’s the next step for the AFC, she recalled that her part’s leader is on record as saying that there would be “consequences”, and she added that “depending on how it plays out we will have to act after.”