PNC member Dr Cummings tells Coalition partners ‘come or go we’re moving forward’
By Kurt Campbell
With talks of an investigation underway into the Region Four RDC debacle, Executive Member of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R), Dr Karen Cummings has brushed aside concerns by the Alliance For Change (AFC) that the PNC dominated APNU+AFC coalition has failed to honour promises in its binding agreement.
During a virtual press conference on Wednesday, Dr Cummings reminded that the Cummingsburg Accord which was signed between the two sides allows for a 70/30 sharing of power and responsibility in and out of Government.
While initially backing down from answering questions put to her on the issue, Dr Cummings was passionate in pointing out her belief that the AFC has received his fair share when the technicalities of that 70/30 division are considered.
The latest fallout between the AFC and the APNU faction of the Coalition surrounds the failure to honour a prior agreement to allow the AFC to occupy the Vice-Chairman position in the three regions the Coalition won at the March 2, 2020 elections.
The AFC only secured the Vice-chairman position in Region Seven but failed to get the support of the APNU to elect its nominee to the post in Regions Four and Ten.
This prompted the resignation of David Patterson from the AFC as the General Secretary; he has also signaled his intention to resign from the National Assembly.
The AFC has issued no statement on the matter but Patterson confirmed that there was a prior agreement he brokered between the APNU and AFC that the Vice Charman position in all the regions won by the coalition would go to the AFC.
Dr Cummings, who was present at the election of the Region Four Chairman and Vice Chairman on Monday described the process as fair and transparent.
She said she was not privy to any previous agreement between the AFC and the APNU.
When pressed further on the resignation of Patterson and the implications it has for the Coalition with the Working People’s Alliance and the Justice for all Party already pulling out, Dr Cummings said: “come with us, we’re going forward and if you’re not with us, you at the back.”
She said while Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon will address the matter fully at his press conference on Friday, it was her belief that everyone has a choice on what they should do and no one was being forced to remain a member of the coalition.
“People have a choice; we can’t force anyone and you are free. We are accommodating and always stretch out an olive branch….There are some devils’ advocate but we don’t have time because there is a lot of distractions,” Dr Cummings said.
Dr Cummings would later explain that the Cummingsburg Accord allows for a 70/30 sharing of power and when the three regions are looked at with the AFC only getting one of the Vice-Chairman position that amounts in her mathematics to 70/30.
She was backed up in her responses by Member of Parliament Tabitha Sarabo-Halley who remains in the coalition although she has resigned from the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) which has since pulled out of the coalition for reasons of non-inclusion.
Sarabo – Halley said the coalition is an interesting arrangement that is never solid and always remained a work in progress. She told reporters via the virtual press briefing that she has full confidence that the two sides will be able to work out its differences.
“It’s not just Guyana Coalition, it happens the world over but everyone believes the Coalition should remain…Coalitions have always had its issues and that doesn’t mean we can’t overcome them,” Sarabo-Halley said.
The News Room reported on Tuesday that the fallout between the AFC and APNU has resulted in AFC Councillors threatening to shift support to its political rival – the Peoples Progressive Party.