APNU, AFC secretly sign revised Cummingsburg Accord
…AFC nominee will be PM candidate – Harmon
A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance for Change (AFC) have signed a revised Cummingsburg Accord on Christmas Eve and while it was not with the same fanfare as 2015, one of the witnesses has confirmed that the AFC nominee will be the Prime Ministerial (PM) candidate.
The signing was done at State House, with President David Granger and Director-General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, representing APNU as the party’s Chairman and General Secretary respectively.
On the other hand, the smaller party was represented by Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan (as AFC leader) and Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson (as AFC General Secretary).
Details of the Accord that both sides agreed to were not released to the public. In fact, when this publication contacted him, Ramjattan disconnected the call. When contacted, however, Harmon did confirm that as per the revised Accord, the AFC’s nominee will be the PM candidate. This can be interpreted to mean Ramjattan, who was elected by the party at its last National Executive Conference (NEC) to be their PM nominee.
Asked if the party was happy with the Accord that was signed, Harmon noted that as they signed, it was indicative of them being satisfied with the terms. According to Harmon, the Accord itself embraces principles of constitutionalism and the experiences shared over the past few years.
“It embraces many of the experiences over the last four and a half years. It embraces the experience we had with the Constitution, its provisions and impact on the conversations and agreement which we had.”
“The constitutional provisions are much more pronounced in this Accord than in the previous one… we have signed it, so we are satisfied with it,” he said, also promising that essential details of the Accord would be made available to the public over the next few days.
Meanwhile, the two parties sent out a joint statement after the signing which mentioned the various coalition party representatives present at the signing. Representing the Guyana Action Party (GAP) was Errol Ross and Junior Minister of Social Protection Keith Scott represented the National Front Alliance (NFA).
In addition, Public Service Minister Tabitha Sarabo-Halley represented the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), while CN Sharma and Junior Public Infrastructure Minister Jaipaul Sharma represented the Justice For All Party (JFA).
“In brief remarks following the signing, Chairman of the APNU and President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Brigadier David Granger said that the Cummingsburg Accord was strengthened based on experiences garnered over the last four and a half years,” the statement said.
“The President said that the coalition parties had worked well together and this revised Accord would lay the foundation for a more enhanced quality of governance for all the people of Guyana. Chairman of the AFC, Mr Khemraj Ramjattan, in his remarks said that the parties in that make up the coalition were ‘better together’ and congratulated the negotiating team that worked to fashion the revised Accord.”
There has been much speculation in the public domain on whether the AFC would have been able to reclaim its previous Cummingsburg Accord concessions after its showing at Local Government Elections (LGE) last year.
In October, President Granger had told reporters that Ramjattan has not been given the green light by APNU and the prime ministerial candidacy would be determined only after negotiations between the two parties.
“The APNU and the AFC are now discussing the Cummingsburg Accord of 2015 and this is one of the issues that will have to be discussed. But I cannot say now who I will be running with,” Granger had said.