AFC Berbice factions’ rigging for control ends in chaos
Chaos erupted on Saturday evening in New Amsterdam when the General Secretary of the Alliance for Change (AFC) Marlon Williams met with executive members of the Regional Management Committee (RMC).
Williams reportedly held the meeting to inform members of plans to hold new RMC elections. Two elections were held – one on February 17 and the other on March 17. Both elections ended with reports of skulduggery taking place.
However, the announcement to hold new elections by Williams did not go down well with some members and as such, the meeting turned into a turmoil.
Executive Member of the party, Devin Sookraj and the AFC’s GS had to scramble to safety following the disorderly behaviour of the newly-elected RMC Chairman Linden Jones who reportedly armed himself with a piece of wood and advanced towards them.
After the charade, National Executive Member representing the diaspora, Derrick Basdeo along with Sookraj, filed a complaint against Jones at the Central Police Station at New Amsterdam.
Following the March 17 elections at which Jones was elected as Chairman, several members were dissatisfied and filed complaints to the party’s senior executive claiming that the elections were rigged.
The first election was held on February 17 at Khemraj Ramjattan’s residence at Number 47 Village, Corentyne. At that election, Subash Orelall was appointed as Chairman and Devin Sookraj as the Vice-Chairman.
The Returning Officer for that proceeding was Derrick Basdeo. Basdeo, who is reportedly a “buddy” of Ramjattan reportedly told members that he was sent by the National Executive to facilitate the election.
Most of those elected were reportedly close to Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan. In fact, most of those who were invited to be a part of the election were from Ramjattan’s faction of the party. Members of Prime Minister Mosses Nagamootoo and Raphael Trotman’s factions were reportedly excluded.
Guyana Times was also informed that many of the regional executives who previously held senior posts were not invited to the elections.
Apart from Sookraj and Orelall, five executive members from Central Corentyne were appointed.
It was felt by some members, that the elections were held so that persons close to Ramjattan could be appointed. This would mean that they will be eligible to vote at the national level giving Ramjattan a better chance of becoming the party’s Chairman and the prime ministerial candidate for the coalition.
The National Congress, at which the Chairman will be selected, is slated for next month.
Meanwhile, following the February 17 elections, the party’s General Secretary met with members in Berbice to deem that election null and void. Williams told members that Basdeo was never mandated to hold the elections.
New elections were held on March 17 at the St Francis Community Developers building at Port Mourant.
The Returning Officer was Audwin Rutherford who is also a Member of Parliament and the national observer was Joel Edmond who is a member of the National Executive.
Those elected were Linden Jones as Chairman; Donna Mattoo as Secretary; Gobin Harbhajan as Treasurer along with three Vice Chairpersons – Camilie Cox, Michael McBean and Kumar Bridgelall. There were also seven committee members.
Nevertheless, that election was marred with the walking out of some members considered to be from the Ramjattan faction. Executive Member Abel Seetaram later used social media, claiming that the process was flawed.
Party officials refused to comment saying that it was an “in house” party business and not for the public.