Cummingsburg review to address campaign financing, candidates

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Top on the agenda of the ongoing review of the Cummingsburg Accord signed by the coalition Government in 2015 are campaign financing and selection of candidates for the general and regional elections.

After four years in office, the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) – a five party coalition –and the Alliance for Change (AFC) are reviewing the accord which served as the platform for the coalition’s election to office in 2015.

The Cummingsburg Accord was signed on February 14, 2015. The two parties began a review of the document last week and estimated the entire process will take four weeks.

General Secretary of the AFC, David Patterson who is one of his party’s representative on the review committee, said the initial accord did not delve into specifics.

“There is a little bit of grey area on financing,” Patterson noted during an interview at the weekend.

He is adamant that there is no need for a completely new document noting that, “we have a document which got us in Government and has kept us here so we’re going to do amendments.”

Patterson pointed out that during the first year in Government in which there were also two Local Government Elections (LGE), it was found that the two partners have a different way of doing things.

“There is a grey area on selection of candidates in a sense that…we never put together a policy on how we would do it. The AFC, we are liberal democrats, we have a vastly different candidate selection process to our partners,” Patterson said.

Minister Patterson said the AFC has a system which allows for the change of candidates at last minute whereby this is not allowed in the five party APNU.

As it relates to LGE, the AFC had spoken of concerns following the 2016 process and even chose to contest the elections without its APNU partner in 2018. In the current review, Patterson said the issues will be addressed.

He also noted that the APNU spoke about the need for consideration of youths and indigenous peoples in the accord.

The AFC, which has the responsibility to elect the Prime Ministerial Candidate according to the accord, recently voted for Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan to take up this post.

Patterson dispelled concerns about the AFC losing the power during the review process to name the Prime Ministerial Candidate.

“I know persons on the outside have been saying that the agreement would change who is our Presidential or Prime Ministerial nominee.

“Neither side has said that as an issue. We have our process of selection and we have to respect that. It would be anarchy if we start to say we prefer him over her in your party,” the General Secretary said.

A review of the Cummingsburg Accord, the AFC said, has engaged its full attention since 2017.

 

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