The Leader and Senior Members of the Alliance For Change called a press conference today to recommit the party to the national coalition and to also roll out some of the party’s plans as it prepares to go it alone for the Local Government Elections.
AFC Leader Raphael Trotman told reporters this afternoon that the AFC is open to including independent candidates and civil society groups as part of its campaign across the country.
Mr. Trotman said there is room in the party under its current Local Government approach, “to work with independent candidates of like mind, community leaders and civil society generally and to mobilize stakeholders to fully participate in this important feature of our democracy”.
On Sunday, the AFC announced its decision to drift a part from the APNU+AFC coalition for local government elections and enter the elections by itself.
That decision came after the two sides could not reach agreement on a number of joint principles in preparation for the polls. Topping that agenda was the issue of how seats would have been allocated on the various councils. As joint partners, the AFC was pushing for a 60/40 split with the APNU getting the bigger slice.
Party officials would not say how low they were prepared to go in terms of sharing the LGE pie, but do not believe they were asking for too much.
AFC Campaign Manager and Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, said the party’s position was based on what exists in the national coalition but it was open to negotiations. Those negotiations did not bear fruit, forcing the decision to head into the elections alone.
But according to Mr. Trotman, although the AFC will be competing against the APNU at the local level, the national coalition remains strong. He said while the competition will be among each other, collectively the battle remains against the People’s Progressive Party.
He said he will not be bothered by analysts who believe that the move could spell disaster for the AFC, pointing out that as a single party, the AFC has shown its growth over the years, since its formation.
“There are analysts and then there are politicians”, he reminded as he stressed that the decision should not and cannot be seen as any attempt to kick its national coalition partner away.
“The AFC reaffirms that the APNU+AFC coalition is strong at the level of National Government and that the party is committed to not only maintaining this cohesiveness but indeed to strengthen it”, Trotman noted.
The AFC Leader who is also the Minister of Natural Resources, said he believes that in national government the AFC has shown its worth, but he is also of the view that it should also show its strength at the local level.
President Granger earlier this week said he is not worried about the AFC’s decision and respects it.
Local Government Elections returned to Guyana in 2016 after an absence for more than two decades under the previous government.