AFC confident it is not dead

first_img…APNU not kicking AFC – party leaderDays after revealing that it was contesting the upcoming Local Government Elections (LGEs) as a single unit, following inconclusive talks with dominant partner – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) – over the last several months, the Alliance for Change (AFC) on Wednesday said the November 12 polls will give it a chance to prove its electoral worth, and it remains confident of gathering additional votes. At that party’s press conference at Parliament Buildings on Wednesday, the AFC said it would not be kicking against the Coalition’s dominant force at LGE polls.Reporters probed the AFC on its relevance in the current political landscape following WPA Executive Dr David Hinds saying that APNU got what it wanted from the AFC; and AFC Leader Raphael Trotman, in responding, said that contrary to what that political analyst has posited, the AFC and the APNU have one principal rival, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP).“I don’t believe that the APNU is getting ready to kick us anywhere; we work well together at the national level, (and) we have no intentions of kicking the APNU,” Trotman asserted.Speaking at the AFC press briefing, party chairman Khemraj Ramjattan indicated that the decision to contest the upcoming LGE alone will prove if the AFC is in fact dead or alive.“The press people, columnists and analysts have been indicating that the AFC is dead, but this (elections) is a great opportunity to prove otherwise,” he noted.The party, in fact, said on Wednesday that while the APNU/AFC coalition is strong in national Government; as a single unit, the AFC is confident that it would demonstrate electoral growth.Impasse with APNUAlliance for Change executives also avoided some of the questions members of the media fielded on what led to the breakdown of talks with the APNU ahead of this year’s Local Government Elections. Facing questions on the Cummingsburg Accord’s 60-40 per cent arrangement, which was signed on Valentine’s Day 2015, executives declined to say how high or low the party was willing to go with talks.“There was no rejection of any formula; we just didn’t reach an agreement,” Executive Member David Patterson noted.Having declared the AFC an “awesome elections machine”, Patterson and his colleagues brushed aside assertions that the AFC had been rejected by the Coalition’s main group, the PNC-R, or the APNU as a whole, from having a seat at the table.Patterson also highlighted that the Cummingsburg Accord did not address the LGEs.The AFC has been coming in for much criticism, especially from the parliamentary Opposition, for what many describe as the submissive role it has been playing since joining forces with APNU. The AFC top leadership had, in mid-November last year, moved to revise its governing agreement with its majority coalition partner. The Cummingsburg Accord, the arrangement which guides the two partners, has a lifespan of a minimum of three years and maximum of five years, and was focused primarily on the General and Regional Elections.However, a stalemate ensued after the two sides could not come to terms on several policies, many of which the AFC members chose not to identify. They did highlight that the Parking Meter Project in the capital city Georgetown was one of the policies which were opposed. The AFC also said it had decided to contest Local Government Elections alone since last year as a test, before National elections in 2020.The AFC will not contest LGEs in all constituencies, but will have a presence in all 10 regions. The APNU and AFC coalition won the national and regional elections in 2015, but the main Opposition PPP gained victory at the 2016 LGEs in the majority of the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs).last_img read more

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