Region 10 APNU Chairman Jermaine Figueira is adamant that while the APNU has agreed to have an Alliance For Change (AFC) councillor elected to the vacant position of Vice Chairman for the Region 10 Regional Democratic Council (RDC), that election should be based on consensus among local leaders and not directives from national leaders.
It has been more than one year since the Office of the Regional Vice Chairman has been vacant due to the passing of Douglas Gittens who succumbed to COVID-19 in June, 2021.
With plans afoot to fill the vacant post, the Alliance For Change has warned that there will be “consequences” if its nominee, Coretta Braithwaite is not supported for the position.
However, Mr. Figueira said the decision lies in the hands of the regional and local leaders.
He said while Chairman of the APNU and Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton and Leader of the AFC, Khemraj Ramjattan might have agreed that the position of Vice Chairman will be offered to AFC in the interest of coalition politics, the local leaders are integral to the process and should also be consulted.
“It is of utmost importance to note, that while there is a willingness in the region to support a Vice Chairperson from the AFC, it is equally important to us as a party to be committed to the involvement of our local leaders, activists and the people in our decision-making process, since we are domicile and are more au fait with the actors in the region,” Mr. Figueira told News Source on Friday.
He added: “We are more well positioned to make the best decisions in the interest of the region than those who sit from afar and want to make decisions they assume are best for us. That will not happen in this Region 10.”
Noting that all politics are local, Mr. Figueira said a decision will be arrived at by the local leaders following widespread consultations.
“I’m confident we will find a consensus candidate and will vote accordingly when that time comes and the AFC will get the agreed Vice Chairman position,” he said.
In a separate interview, Region 10’s Regional Chairman, Deron Adams echoed similar sentiments.
“The leadership of Region 10, we believe that, one, all politics is local, and we believe that the consultation must happen with the local leaders. So, this is not something where we will just sit back idly and allow the folks in Georgetown to say XYZ,” Mr Adams said.
He said it is important for the views of the local leaders to be represented. “I believe that the two political parties in the region must come together to identify the best candidate, hammer out whatever issues they put on the table, and the best person would be identified,” the Regional Chairman said.
The Regional Vice Chairman is responsible for Sub-region 2 in Region 10, and according to Mr. Adams, the elected official must be able to represent the interest of the residents there.
When contacted, Region 10’s AFC Chairman, Mark Goring declined to comment on the matter. The election of the Regional Vice Chairman is expected to come up when the Council meets again next month.
However, aside from the post left vacant by Mr. Douglas, the 18-member Council has three other vacant seats, which were created following the passing of People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Councillor Gem Narine in April 2021 and APNU+AFC Councillor Gordon Callender in January 2022, and the resignation of APNU+AFC Councillor Keisha Griffith McKane this year.
According to the Regional Chairman, those seats will also be filled based on recommendations from local leaders.
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