AFC not in a hurry to coalesce, focus is on rebuilding party -Hughes

Last Updated on Friday, 5 July 2024, 12:42 by Writer

AFC Leader Nigel Hughes and a number of party supporters

The Alliance For Change (AFC) is not in a rush to coalesce with other political parties, but its main priority is to first boost its support base, according to party leader, Nigel Hughes.

“We are going to be working assiduously over the next few months to build the AFC and reimage the AFC so our focus is going to be on that,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.

He said “we’ll be concentrating on rebuilding” the AFC with its own “independent structures” so that the party has more supporters than it currently has before it engages on coalition talks with other political parties.

He said it was too early to discuss the conditions for a coalition as that would depend on an assessment of the “political ground”. Mr Hughes restated that he was committed to consulting broader civil society with the aim of forming “a very broad coalition” rather than with just two political parties. “We have to consult with them first before we can make that sort of decision,” he said. Asked how he envisaged the AFC intended to cross the barrier of certain civil society actors regarded already by the governing People’s Progressive Party (PPP) as being politically biased, the AFC leader said his party was not guided by government’s definition of who people are. “We are governed by what is in in the best interest of the country and if the scientific polls that we conduct and if the general sense in society is that those persons can play a meaningful role and are not particularly toxic, we’ll be prepared to discuss with them,” he said.

Asked whether the AFC would consider coalescing with A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) whose executive members do not include the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Mr Hughes said he noted the statement by PNCR leader Aubrey Norton whose party is the “largest political constituent.”

Shortly after he was voted into office as party leader on June 29, Mr Hughes told delegates that the AFC was not ready to enter into a coalition with any other political party. “This is not the time to talk about coalition because we have to understand what coalition involves so that we don’t put ourselves back in the same position that we were in 2020,” he said.

While Mr Hughes had previously said he would be available to be the combined opposition’s consensus presidential candidate, PNCR’s Mr Norton has since said the candidate must come from his party, being a large mass-based party.

Mr Hughes also said the AFC planned to diagnose why the coalition with the PNCR-led APNU was no longer in government. “We have to reexamine what it is that we did when we were in government and how we came out of government so we don’t make the same mistakes again. You cannot talk about the future if you d0n’t look back, acknowledge the mistakes and then try to correct them,” he said.

Instead, he said the AFC would be entering the strongholds of other political parties as well as his party’s to apologise. “We are going back to our strongholds and saying to them ‘we’re sorry we might have failed you. We have looked at our failures, we have corrected our wrongs and we have come back better and stronger than ever before,” he said.

The AFC planned to reach out to the private sector, trade unions, including the pro-People’s Progressive Party Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU), and other stakeholders to ascertain their vision for Guyana. He said the focus would be on finding common ground on making Guyana a stable place for investment.