Just one day after the Alliance For Change (AFC) announced that talks regarding the coalition’s prime ministerial candidate have reached a stalemate, the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) executive said that it is unaware of an impasse but said that negotiations will continue soon.
On Thursday executives from the AFC said that negotiations were stalled after the parties failed to reach a consensus on the candidacy.
However, at the PNCR’s weekly press conference on Friday, Chair of the party, Volda Lawrence claimed that the meetings were halted because the AFC’s representative is not in the country.
Lawrence, who has represented the APNU during the current revision of the Cummingsburg Accord was tightlipped about issues discussed between the two coalition partners on aspects of the next elections.
The PNCR Chair asserted that they received no word from the AFC which informed that the negotiations have ended.
However, she expressed surprise at the AFC for their recent position on the deliberations. She added that the PNCR is hoping for a compromise so that both parties remain in the coalition.
“The fact that we’re still in negotiations, I’m not allowed to discuss that in public. The negotiations continue…After these talks, we will find compromise. We will come out with an accord that is acceptable on both sides. In terms whether I was surprised at the AFC, yes. Because this is not the only matter that has been parked and remains parked to date. Yes, there was some element of surprise.”
While she has shared this position, the AFC has hinted at possibly splitting from the coalition if their choice for the candidacy, Khemraj Ramjattan, is not accepted. Treasurer of the AFC, Dominic Gaskin stated at a press conference on Thursday that their selection of the prime ministerial candidate is their condition for remaining in the coalition ahead of the approaching General and Regional Elections.
“This was a decision taken by the highest decision-making forum of our party and it is not up for debate so it is almost a prerequisite for us entering into a coalition…We don’t accept that any other entity or any other party shall tell us or dictate to us who we should choose as our prime ministerial candidate,” Gaskin was quoted as saying.
He added, “There were a number of reasons given why this matter needed to be deferred, none of which we accept or agree with…It wasn’t very clear with us on what basis they matter kept being deferred.”
When questioned about the performance of Ramjattan in his capacity as Public Security Minister and the reasons why he was not accepted, Lawrence opined, “Let me say that I’ve never done an evaluation of my colleague, Mr Ramjattan”.
Both parties have preached their support for coalition politics. But executives of the AFC are open to forming alliances with new parties, other than the APNU.
Vice Chair, Cathy Hughes also revealed, “The Alliance For Change is willing to work with anyone committed to the principles of constitutional reform and the creation of a more equitable Guyana where everyone has an equal opportunity.”
However, in an interview with news podcast INSIDE Sources, Granger on Thursday said that the AFC is not the only party in the coalition Government. Granger also said during the podcast that he is open to recommendations from other parties within the coalition.
“The President is the Chief Executive of the country and I am open to recommendations from all of my parties and it is my duty to give the country the best team of Ministers in order to accomplish the strategic objectives of the coalition,” Granger is quoted by podcast INSIDE Sources as saying.