New Coalition agreement should not be subject to threats and deadlines – President
As the coalition battles to come up with a new Cummingsburg Accord, President David Granger says another “high level” meeting with its partner – the Alliance for Change (AFC) – is set for Thursday but he made it clear that any agreement should not be subject to “deadlines or threats.”
During an interview with reporters Wednesday at the sidelines of an event at the Ministry of the Presidency, Mr Granger who is also the Leader of the five-party A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), said that the negotiations with the AFC are based on principles which were agreed to.
“We should not allow the preoccupation of personalities to derail the importance of seeking an agreement based on principles….
“The most important principle is that any agreement should be in accordance with the constitution of Guyana so that is not subject to deadlines or threats.
“We will abide by the constitution and it is my intention as head of Government, on return to office, to ensure that the people of Guyana get a form of Government…which is honest and which is efficient. That is the aim of negotiations. We are seeking the best outcome for the people of Guyana,” President Granger told reporters.
The AFC has been driving a hard bargain to get a fair deal before it signs on to a renewed accord to contest the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections with APNU and was hoping for a concrete agreement with APNU by Monday.
As a matter of fact, Executive Member of the AFC Dominic Gaskin had told a press conference last week that the party wanted to finalise negotiations Monday last and threatened that the AFC will contest the elections solo if no agreement is reached.
But President Granger noted Wednesday that the negotiations have moved to another level that includes a four-member high-level team and noted that placing a deadline on the discussions will not result in the best outcome.
“The negotiations are determined by agreements, not by deadlines and we have been communicating with each other, meeting, negotiating for much of October and November so far.
“The question of a deadline will not necessarily bring about the best outcome. I am very confident that were we to – without noise – sit down soberly and quietly, we will arrive at an outcome which is the best for Guyana.”
The high-level team includes Mr Granger, Leader of the AFC Khemraj Ramjattan, General Secretary of the AFC David Patterson and Chairman of the PNC Volda Lawrence.
The APNU on Monday night said it had agreed on a formula for the allocation of seats with the AFC if they go as a Coalition for the elections.
“…the partners examined several proposals and agreed on a post-election formula for the allocation of seats and recommended an approach for the continuation of negotiations with the Alliance For Change (AFC) in accordance with the core principles already agreed.
“The Partners further agreed and recommended that the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana will guide all future discussions,” APNU said in a statement.
According to APNU, it remains committed to ending “winner-take-all” politics in Guyana and to contesting the 2020 elections as a Coalition.
The AFC has already declared that if it does not get its way, it is ready to contest the elections alone.
The negotiation between the two sides is a four-stage process which first includes the agreement of the core principle, the revision of the accord followed by the agreement of the manifesto and finally the launch.
They are currently in the second stage.