The multi-party bloc APNU and the Alliance For Change (AFC) on Tuesday signed a new accord, which will see them once again contesting general and regional elections on a single slate.
The media was not invited to the event. AFC General Secretary David Patterson was the first to share photos and announce the signing of the accord on his Facebook page.
In a record of the event later seen by News Room, AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan, who will be incumbent President David Granger’s running mate, said the protracted negotiations were “deliberate” and “extraordinarily profound” to ensure that the AFC and APNU get the best agreement.
The accord was signed by Granger, who serves as leader of APNU, and APNU’s General Secretary Joseph Harmon together with Ramjattan and Patterson, at the Baridi Benab, State House.
“I want to assure the people of Guyana that the process that has brought us here was not a flash in pan,” President Granger said after the signing ceremony.
Ramjattan said it was always his firm conviction that Coalition politics is the kind of politics that will “take us a massive way forward at a very quick rate.”
“I believe that is exactly what has happened here. We now have to walk the talk and to ensure the elections is March 02 is won,” Ramjattan stated, to give Guyanese the “deal they deserve.”
“I believe we are better together.”
President Granger said the new accord takes into account the Coalition’s experiences over the past four and a half years.
If the Coalition is returned to office, Granger said the office of the Prime Minister will be strengthened in light of the thrust towards constitutional reform. This, he said, would including adding a Parliamentary Secretary to ensure the Prime Minister expedites his work.
If elected, he promised that constitutional reform will be completed in the Coalition’s second term.
Patterson in a telephone interview told the News Room that “not much has changed” but “we included some other issues which we felt would strengthen us as a coalition and as a political party so this is an enhanced version of what was there before.”
He added that of note, the APNU+AFC have made it mandatory that their members meet at the party level at least on a quarterly basis.
“We have also made it mandatory that there will be more detailed meetings every quarter and before the presentation of any budget, have more detailed meetings of all the constituent members of the APNU and AFC,” he added.
Minister Patterson said it was important to make this change since some of its members have stated that while the Government works well at the Cabinet level, it is disconnected at the party level.
The new accord also settles seats at the National Assembly and at the level of the Local Democratic Organs.