Delegates of the Alliance for Change on Saturday afternoon endorsed the party’s Leader Khemraj Ramjattan as the Prime Ministerial Candidate for the APNU+AFC Coalition.
Under the terms fo the agreement which formed the coalition just over four years ago, the AFC would name the Prime Ministerial Candidate.
Mr. Ramjattan was endorsed for the position through a motion that was presented at the party’s biennial congress. The endorsement from the party’s delegates came just hours after he was elected unchallenged as the Leader of the AFC, with former Leader Raphael Trotman being elected Chairman.
Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo embraced Ramjattan and left the Congress moments before a vote on the endorsement motion.
On his way out, the Prime Minister said while he was still interested in serving as the Prime Ministerial Candidate for the coalition, he is no dinosaur and was not about to drop any anchor to remain in the one place forever.
Mr. Ramjattan said the incumbent Prime Minister was gracious.
Nagamootoo did not seek any of the elected offices at the Congress but the AFC continues to recognise him as its elder statesman.
Also at the Saturday Congress, longtime party member, David Patterson, who serves as Public Infrastructure Minister in the coalition government, was elected as AFC General Secretary.
He told reporters that the AFC will be rallying around Mr. Ramjattan as the coalition’s Prime Ministerial Candidate and there was no negotiating on that.
Before the vote on the endorsement of Ramjattan was taken, he explained to the delegates how he would serve as a good Prime Minister. He was quizzed about several national issues and said he thought he answered them all well.
According to Ramjattan, the AFC delegates have declared him “fit and proper” to be the Prime Ministerial Candidate of the party and he is ready to continue serving.
The AFC’s Congress appeared to be contentious in the days before as former Executive Member Imran Khan, launched a scathing attack against a leader of the party for being supportive of “thugs” who were threatening him and his wife.
Khan never named the party leader, but with his endorsement of Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo to serve again as the PM Candidate, it appeared as though his public comments were directed at Ramjattan.
Prime Minister Nagamootoo went into the congress riding high on a recent national poll, which showed that he was the most popular candidate among all coalition supporters and nationally for the Prime Ministerial Candidate spot.
He was also the candidate of choice for swing voters, however, Mr. Ramjattan got higher marks for the coalition’s PM Candidate spot from persons, who said they are supportive of the opposition, People’s Progressive Party.
Nagamootoo joined the AFC in 2011 after serving in the PPP for all of his political life. The AFC was founded in 2005.
Although Mr. Nagamootoo was never elected as Leader or Chairman of the Alliance For Change, he was still selected as the party’s Prime Ministerial Candidate choice when the AFC joined forces with the APNU for the 2015 elections.
As a coalition, the two parties went on to win the elections and Mr. Nagamootoo was appointed Prime Minister and First Vice President.