Leader of Alliance for Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan is making it pellucid that the decision to not enter into a new Cummingsburg Accord with A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) should not be interpreted as a departure as both parties will still unite on parliamentary matters and in furtherance of a new voters’ list.
Ramjattan, during a recent press conference, confirmed that the Alliance for Change will be parting ways with its current coalition partner on December 31, 2022. The Cummingsburg Accord, an agreement that binds the parties together is slated to expire on the same day.
Earlier this year, Ramjattan informed that the decision was made at the party’s National Executive Conference where the majority of the delegates agreed that the partnership with the coalition should conclude and that leading up to the next 2025 general and regional elections, the AFC can consider returning to the coalition provided that there is a revised Cummingsburg Accord. He stated that should the Cummingsburg Accord be revised, it must include more provisions for consultations among the parties that form the coalition, among other things.
However, on Friday last, the AFC leader did not indicate any intention of renewing the agreement with the APNU. Rather, he stated that the AFC will maintain a cordial working relationship with the Norton-led opposition party.
“We are a joint party at parliamentary level and even when fighting for the genuine and authentic causes like a clean voters’ list, we will certainly work along. If we have independent positions, we will express them,” he said.
Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton who earlier this year denied being officially informed of the AFC’s planned departure is aware of the party’s position, Ramjattan divulged.
When Norton was questioned on whether there were long-standing disputes that led the AFC to announce the split, he pointed out that as part of normal coalition culture, differences are inevitable among members.
Some of the reasons cited at the National Executive Conference by delegates for the exit included the election of the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Region Four Regional Democratic Council (RDC) in 2020 whereby the AFC was rebuffed for the Vice Chairman position despite an agreement both parties shared previously.
The AFC following the expiration of the agreement according to Ramjattan is prepared to hit the ground running and interact with its support base across the country with hopes of strengthening the confidence of the people in the party.
The AFC had united with the APNU to contest the 2015 General and Regional Elections which they won. The Cummingburg Accord which they signed outlines the number of seats in parliament and ministries in government that each constituent party would be assigned as well as provisions for the more substantive core of the relationship between the parties, which includes, the division of responsibility in the management of the government.