– sources cite fallout over Region 4 Vice Chair position
In the wake of what seems to be a dispute over the election of a Vice Chairman for the Region Four Regional Democratic Council (RDC), Alliance For Change (AFC) General Secretary David Patterson has tendered his resignation as General Secretary.
Sources indicate that Patterson may have taken this step after coalition partner A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), which has a history of infringements against the smaller party, locked the AFC out from the Vice Chair position despite a previous agreement.
The previous agreement that Patterson helped craft, according to reports, had stipulated that the AFC would get the Vice Chair positions in Regions Seven and Four. But following the election of APNU candidate, former Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Captain Daniel Seeram, it was not to be.
AFC had nominated Neilson McKenzie for the Vice Chairman position, APNU nominated Samuel Sandy and the PPP nominated Desmond Morian. Voting was along party lines, as APNU and PPP cast their 14 votes each for their candidates and the AFC, with its five votes, backed McKenzie. Seeram then used his deciding vote to elect Sandy.
It is understood that in his letter of resignation, Patterson committed to remaining in the party and playing a role. However, that role would not include General Secretary. Calls to Patterson and party leader, Khemraj Ramjattan, went unanswered.
Since it came into office after joining forces with the APNU in 2015, the minority AFC has been criticised for the submissive role it has been playing to the abusive APNU. Decisions the former Government made, such as the closure of sugar estates, which put thousands of sugar workers out of jobs, were passed unchallenged and even supported by the AFC. This is despite the AFC retaining the Agriculture Ministry.
This passive relationship with APNU was cited by former AFC parliamentarian Charrandas Persaud, as one of the reasons he voted for the No-Confidence Motion that brought down the APNU/AFC Government in 2018.
In addition, there has been the former Government’s strategic reallocation of responsibilities away from Ministries that were headed by AFC officials, to other Ministries. This included removing oil and gas from former Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman and citizenship from former Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan.
There is also the fact that despite the Cummingsburg Accord containing stipulations that should have seen former Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo being vested with the responsibility for chairing Cabinet and domestic issues, the former APNU Government never honoured this.