Leader of the Alliance For Change, Khemraj Ramjattan today confirmed that his Alliance For Change Party has formally withdrawn from the multi-party coalition with the APNU.
The two parties were in a coalition for the past 7 years, but even as the AFC has left the coalition, the AFC Leader today said the APNU and AFC will still work together at the Parliamentary level while maintaining their independence outside of the Parliament.
During an interview with News Source, Mr. Ramjattan said if it were up to him, the AFC would still be in the coalition, since he is of the view that the parties are better and stronger together.
“The National Executive Committee of the AFC took a decision to withdraw from the Coalition just like it took a decision to join the coalition. We are still going to have cordial relationship with APNU. When we were elected we were elected as APNU+AFC, so we are still partners in Parliament based on that election,” Mr. Ramjattan told News Source.
The AFC Leader last Wednesday met with Chairman of APNU and Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton. It was at that meeting that Ramjattan formally informed Norton of his party’s position to step away from the multi-party coalition.
The long-standing politician told News Source that a new coalition agreement with the APNU will be dependent on how favorable talks are to the AFC, especially when it comes to seating arrangements in the National Assembly.
“Personally, another agreement with APNU with be dependent on the arrangement—seating arrangement as it were, but that is not up to be as I said but the National Executive Committee. When we won the elections the AFC had 12 seats, when we lost we now have 9 seats, so we will have to look at all those things and decide how we will move forward,” Mr. Ramjattan told News Source.
On February 14, 2015, the APNU and AFC joined forces following the signing of the Cummingsburg Accord.
However, relations between the two parties soured when an AFC Parliamentarian at the time, Charrandas Persaud, voted for a no-confidence motion against the APNU+AFC Government.
Once out of government, the parties continued to tussle over positions, with the AFC claiming that agreements were breached when it did not receive the Vice-Chairmanship position for Region Four. It was that incident that triggered talks of leaving the coalition.
When the matter was brought up at the AFC’s conference, Mr. Ramjattan was a staunch supporter of remaining with APNU, but he was overshadowed by other senior executives of the party who wanted to walk away from the agreement.
He has made it clear that the two parties will continue to work together.