Khemraj Ramjattan has been unanimously selected as the new leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC) at the party’s ongoing National Executive Conference (NEC), where he is also hoping to win support as its proposed Prime Ministerial candidate for the APNU+AFC coalition at the next general elections.

Ramjattan, who was previously serving as Chairman, is replacing Raphael Trotman. Trotman did not seek to be re-elected. While both Cathy Hughes and David Patterson were also nominated for the post, they withdrew from the contest.

Trotman, meanwhile, has been unanimously chosen as the party’s Chairman. Hughes and Patterson, who were also nominated for the post, once again withdrew.

Ramjattan and Trotman have rotated the leadership of the party since its inception.

Ramjattan, who is the Public Security Minister in the APNU+AFC coalition government, is also seeking to be the Prime Ministerial candidate at the next general elections.

Hughes earlier today confirmed that the NEC, which is being held at the St. Paul’s Retreat Centre, at Vryheid’s Lust, East Coast Demerara, would be asked to consider a motion to select a prime ministerial candidate.

Asked by Stabroek News whether the issue of the prime ministerial candidate would be dealt with, Hughes informed that there is a motion on the table that explains very clearly that because it is known that “more than likely we will be going to an election by 2020 and of course our National Conference is held every two years… it means that the next one that is scheduled will be 2021. So the AFC, as you know, according to the Cummingsburg Accord, is required to offer the Prime Ministerial candidate and that’s why this motion is on the table for use to look at.”

She made it clear that she was not in a position to say whether or not the motion will be accepted. “I do promise you that we will have a press conference at the end, where you will be able to meet the new executive and we will be able to give you an idea of what has happened along the way,” she said.

Hughes met the media outside the venue to inform journalists that they will not be allowed inside for the opening of the conference as had previously happened.

The NEC opened just after 10 am this morning. Delegates from all the administrative regions are in attendance.

Ahead of the commencement, fliers informing of Ramjattan’s interest in being both the party’s leader and the Prime Ministerial Candidate were shared out.

Over the last few weeks, tensions have been fueled by the rivalry for the nomination of Prime Ministerial candidate.

Ramjattan has publicly expressed his interest in assuming the position from current Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo. Trotman has thrown his support behind Nagamootoo, while warning that replacing him at this time could be seen as indicative of accepting that the APNU+AFC coalition has failed as a government.

Ramjattan did not stop to engage the media as he made his way into the conference. Nagamootoo, accompanied by his usual security detail, drove straight into the compound, where he met and shook hands with Trotman, before walking into the building. He did not look in the media’s direction.