– laments sidelining
The People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR)-led the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) has come in for heavy criticism from the Diaspora chapter of one of its five partners – the Working People’s Alliance (WPA).
In a statement on Friday, the WPA Overseas Associates (WPAOA) has stated that the party would leave the APNU alliance if steps are not taken to have a more inclusionary partnership.
The five-party APNU consists of: majority members PNC, the WPA, the Justice For All Party (JFAP), the National Front Alliance (NFA) and the Guyana Action Party (GAP).
Back in 2010, David Granger contested for and came out victorious as the PNCR’s presidential candidate for the November 2011 General Elections, leading the APNU alliance.
However, he was defeated at that election. The Granger-led APNU subsequently join forces with the Alliance For Change to form a coalition, which went on to win office at the 2015 elections.
Since then, however, there have been reports of building tension between the two coalition partners. But now, there seems to be an in-house rift within the APNU alliance – something which the WPA has long been complaining about.
In Friday’s missive, the WPAOA demanded that there be a new concrete agreement between the PNC, the WPA and other members of APNU that would actively embrace all the constituents as equal partners in the coalition.
“The WPAOA views this request as a matter that needs to be addressed urgently. Should there be no movement by the PNC in the “partnership” then our position is that the WPA should immediately leave the APNU,” the party’s overseas chapter asserted.
The WPAOA noted that since the May 2015 victory of the Coalition, the APNU of which the WPA is a founding partner, has been managing the Partnership as if it was a single entity, namely the PNC.
“There have been several attempts by the WPA to get the leadership of the APNU/PNC to take the coalition seriously. These calls fell on deaf ears resulting in the APNU meeting infrequently during the past three years. As a result, the Government, of which the PNC is the leading constituent, lost the opportunity to hear and address the complaints of citizens. The Local Government Elections of 2018 is a testament to the sidelining of constituents,” the WPA’s overseas associates pointed out.
It further stated that now with the APNU preparing for new General Elections, it appears as though party leaders are not willing to move away from behaving as though the APNU is made up entirely of the PNC, while the other alliance partners are sidelined.
According to the WPAOA, clear evidence of this trend was highlighted at a recently held meeting of the APNU executives, where the smaller parties were invited and told what the agenda would be. It noted, however, that the subsequent launching of the elections committee with less than 48 hours’ notice was another clear indication of a continuation of this fait accompli.
“Questions of inclusion and participation by all parties in the APNU election planning are answered with the explanation that there is a need for immediacy and consequently the preservation of the status quo. These explanations and dismissive responses by the (PNC) APNU leadership are not satisfactory and should not be allowed to continue. “Staying the course” should not result in the continuing embrace of a philosophy that perceives the smaller parties in the coalition as less than useful but necessary appendages,” the WPAOA posited.
It went on to note too that in the original APNU agreement, a commitment to regular meetings of the APNU was also given but that seems to have been completely disregarded.
The WPA’s overseas chapter further reflected at the launch of the APNU in June 2011, when the party’s co-leader, Dr Clive Thomas made the following remarks on behalf of the WPA:
“In life, as in politics, it is clearly easier to work with those who share your own point of view and are prepared in effect to echo solutions you offer for creating reconciliation, peace, and harmony. But just as in life, you reveal your “humanity” by embracing diversities of views, different outlooks and different participants; so too in politics you reveal your “political culture” through a willingness to embrace diversities and differences in promoting strategies aimed at reconciliation, harmony, and the reduction of conflict.”
The threat by the WPA’s overseas associates comes just over a year after the AFC’s Canada Chapter pulled out from the minority party in the coalition administration. This followed the resignation of several executives of the party’s New York Chapter.
On February 14, 2019, the APNU/AFC celebrated its 4th anniversary since signing the Cummingsburg Accord. However, the AFC in recent years has come under fire for the submissive role it has been playing since joining forces with APNU.