Granger: APNU/AFC Coalition “still strong” with Sharma’s, Sarabo-Halley’s “new parties”
…will provide the “good life” in Opposition
Former President and Leader of the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), David Granger on Friday reassured that the APNU/AFC coalition remains strong and will continue to work together as the parliamentary Opposition to bring the “good life” to all Guyanese.
He made these comments during the APNU/AFC-sponsored show – “The Public Interest”.
“In five years, we achieved quite a lot and we were able to keep the coalition together… The coalition is still working as the Opposition in the National Assembly…we still have a common vision. And as you can see in the National Assembly, APNU and AFC are working together to provide a good life for the Guyanese people,” the APNU leader asserted.
Granger, a former Head of State in the previous coalition Government, explained that the relationship between the two parties has been successful and lasted this long due to the common vision and positions they share.
“We have a shared vision of where we want to see Guyana go, the use of its resources, the form of governance… Most important also the fact that there is a written [Cummingsburg] Accord binding the two parties together [in which] allocation of seats and other important elements in the relationship are recorded and agreed to, and we have not breached those agreements. The relationship is quite respectful,” he posited during this week’s programme.
However, Granger’s remarks come as the Alliance For Change continues to be criticised for its submissive role to the PNC-led APNU.
In fact, the minority party in the coalition was forced to accept a reduction in its share of resources including parliamentary seats from 40 to 30 per cent in the renegotiated Cummingsburg Accord – which was finalised less than a month before the 2020 elections.
More recently, however, AFC’s General Secretary David Patterson had resigned from the post and as a Member of Parliament in September last year after a promised Vice Chairman position at the Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) Regional Democratic Council was given to an APNU candidate instead.
But Patterson later rescinded his resignation, which the AFC refused to accept and had indicated that it would review its partnership with APNU.
Nevertheless, during Friday’s Public Interest programme, Granger also spoke of the APNU’s recent induction of two new political parties into the partnership.
Last Friday, the APNU Executive approved applications from two new political parties – Equal Rights and Justice Party (ERJP) and Guyana Nation Builders Movement (GNBM) established by former Ministers in the previous APNU/AFC coalition Administration, Jaipaul Sharma and Tabitha Sarabo-Halley, respectively – to join the ten-year-old partnership.
Sarabo-Halley, who had served as Public Service Minister, is currently serving as an Opposition Member of Parliament. She had resigned from former APNU Member, the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) after the party left the partnership.
Meanwhile, Sharma, a former Junior Finance and Public Infrastructure Minister, had also resigned from politics last August. His party – the Justice For All Party (JFAP) founded by his father, Chandra Narine Sharma – had also resigned from APNU.
Both the JFAP and the WPA had cited the dictatorial nature of the Granger-led party while in and out of office.
But according to the former Head of State, while the APNU was disappointed with withdrawals of those two parties last year, the gap has now been filled by the two new parties.
“There is no antagonism and the APNU was happy to receive those two new parties which have now become partners in the APNU… We’re now back up to strength. We feel we’re stronger together and we applaud the decisions of the two young and experienced members… So, we’re strong and the accession of those two parties has strengthened the APNU,” Granger posited.
He further outlined that the ERJP and GNBM has their own concept paper/manifesto that they will be using to go out to campaign on and bring their own constituents into the APNU fraction.