Kurt Campbell reports
Opposition and APNU Leader David Granger has declared that the days for winner takes all politics in Guyana are over as he announced on Saturday the formation of a pre – elections coalition between the two main opposition parties following weeks of intense high level negotiation.
The alliance which was formed between the Alliance for Change (AFC) and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) is being regarded as historic with plans to reintroduce the Vice Presidency post to the governance formula.
“The days of winner takes all politics are over… we have closed the door on that and that is most historic about what has happened today,” Granger said.
He will be the Presidential Candidate for the alliance while AFC’s Moses Nagamootoo will be his running mate in the form of a Prime Ministerial Candidate. Nagamootoo said this was a reunion for him having attended primary school with Granger.
The agreement which was signed today is titled the “Cummingsburg Accord” and has so far specified that the AFC will be assured 12 seats in the National Assembly.
The two sides say they have not contemplated possibility of a defeat at the May 11 general and regional elections. “People want this thing badly, people want a coalition… people do not want five more year of the PPP and we are very confident that we will win on May 11,” Granger added.
In the construct of a new government the APNU will be allocated one Vice President and AFC two Vice Presidents both of whom will be members of the Cabinet.
It was agreed too that the Presidency will be reorganised and will see the Head of State having responsibility for the appointment of Constitutional Agencies and Commissions with the required and agreed democratic mechanisms of consultation and appoint along with Foreign Affairs, International Relations and Non-Commercial Treaties.
Also the President shall be responsible for National Security Policy, the Defence Board, the Joint Intelligence Committee and the Guyana Defence Force et al.
The President will delegate to the Prime Minister responsibilities for Domestic National Affairs and chairing Cabinet, recommending ministerial appointments and providing the organizational structures of Ministries for the approval of the President among others.
The Parties further agreed that Cabinet positions will allocated on a 60/40 basis between the APNU and the AFC respectively.
Both the Representative of the list and the Speaker of The House will be mutually selected by both parties from independent members of civil society.
Granger said this was a “watershed political development for our country as this new electoral alliance moves to put Guyana on the correct path, where all Guyanese regardless of ethnicity can feel fully motivated to be proud of his or her nation and is afforded the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to the society while successfully caring for themselves and family.”
It was noted that discussions were not easy and both parties had to give up some of their demands and overcome decades of prejudices to arrive at this significant and momentous point of “national renewal.”
The two parties are expected to commence the process of combining their campaign teams into one unbeatable electoral machine to secure the victory this country urgently demands of us with the APNU already indicating its intentions to stand the larger part of financing.
(Julia Johnson Photo)
Filed: 14th February, 2015