PNC camp reportedly uneasy about alliance deal
THE A Partnership For National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) alliance was recently formalised, but according to reports, it happened only after a Jamaican politician stepped in to broker the deal. A reliable source told the Guyana Chronicle that the talks broke down on several occasions during the four-week negotiating period, but both parties were held together by the skilful arbitrator. Information obtained by this newspaper has indicated that though the two sides have agreed to coalesce, the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) leadership has some reservations on the deal struck. The PNCR is the largest party in the coalition, APNU.
According to reports, several senior PNCR leaders are not in agreement with the 60-40 Cabinet allocation in favour of APNU if the APNU-AFC alliance is victorious at the polls.
Following the coalition, former PNCR Executive Joseph Hamilton has contended that it is bewildering that “a party with no constituency” and seven seats in Parliament, “would be guaranteed 12 seats in the House” if the alliance wins outright at the May 11 polls.”
Speaking with the Guyana Chronicle, the Parliamentary Secretary with responsibility for Health said even though the deal has been agreed, based on his knowledge of the thinking of the PNCR there is a strong likelihood that it will be met with strong reservations from the party’s General Council.
He described the move by the small party as a “brilliant stroke to prolong its survival,” noting that in the history of local politics, the electorate has never been kind to third parties, and the AFC would have become increasingly aware of this.
Under the agreement, AFC Vice Chairman Moses Nagamootoo has been named prime ministerial candidate in the alliance, and the party has been given three of the vice presidential positions, one of which automatically goes to the prime ministerial candidate should the alliance defeat the PPP/C at the upcoming elections.
Unconfirmed reports say that the other two will go to AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan and vibrant party executive Cathy Hughes.
From what came out of the alliance’s first press briefing on Friday, it was evident that some basic features of the coalition have not been agreed, and there is some reluctance to come to a mutual agreement.
APNU and the AFC are yet to decide on a name for the alliance, and have placed their respective symbols next to each other on a tentative logo unveiled at the press briefing.
Both AFC Leader Raphael Trotman and APNU General Secretary Joseph Harmon have said that they will not be “playing around” with the identity of their respective parties.
They were also in strong agreement with the tentative logo, but will have to decide on where their supporters should put the X or a star on Elections Day, whether it will be next to the decorated palm or the primarily yellow key.
Voters cannot put an X or star next to two symbols on a ballot paper. The alliance has since promised to re-examine the logo and make a decision on March 4, the date on which it will launch its media campaign.
Faithful members of the alliance, the source told the Guyana Chronicle, are hoping that the “marriage” works and members do no hit the campaign trail as a warring and disarrayed bunch.
AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan