Guyana’s Coalition Parties Disagree on Candidate for Prime Minister But President Insists All is Well

President David Granger

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Monday October 28, 2019 – President David Granger has put to rest concerns about stalled talks between the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and its coalition partner, the Alliance For Change (AFC), noting that discussions between the two are taking place every week.

Last week, talks between the coalition partners reportedly collapsed after the two parties could not agree on the way forward, with the AFC insisting that its nominee, Khemraj Ramjathan, should be chosen, while the President said he was looking at other potential candidates from within his party.

AFC Chairman Raphael Trotman had said the party’s national executive committee would decide early next month whether the AFC would contest the next general elections jointly with the APNU, or go it alone.

But appearing as a guest on an Inside Source podcast yesterday, Granger insisted the coalition remains strong and will be heading into the March 2, 2020 elections together.

He said both partners have appointed teams that are examining a three-stage process to guide them as they prepare for 2020 elections, with stage two almost being completed.

The first stage, Granger said, was discussion and agreement on core principles – and that was passed successfully. The second is the revision of the Cummingsburg Accord, which brought the political parties together as a coalition on February 14, 2015, and under which the APNU nominates the Presidential Candidate and the AFC, the Prime Ministerial Candidate, and the APNU was allocated 60 per cent of the seats won by the Government in the National Assembly while the AFC received the remaining 40 per cent.

Part of the agreement is that should the teams hit a wall, the issues would be referred to the respective party leaders.

“Nothing has been referred to me indicating that there is a problem. I don’t understand that people could use a word like stall when discussions are taking place every week. I am very confident that if a matter comes up that an agreement cannot be reached at the level of the team, those matters could be parked and referred to the leaders,” President Granger told Inside Source.

President Granger said while the two sides have already agreed on the core principles, talks are currently ongoing about the form of the accord. The third stage of the discussion will see parties addressing the manifesto to go into the elections.

Asked about concerns about his running mate for the elections, President Granger said one of the principles agreed upon between the APNU and the AFC was that nothing should be decided upon that would collide with the constitution.The constitution provides for the President to appoint the Prime Minister or candidate for that post.

“I am open to recommendations from all of my parties and it is my duty to give the country the best team of ministers in order to accomplish the strategic objectives of the coalition, a better quality of life and that is what we are doing,” he said.

Granger said he is not dealing with personalities at this stage, but that he is satisfied with the performance of incumbent Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo over the last four years.

“As President, I have only had one Prime Minister that is Moses Nagamootoo, and he is competent and very supportive. We are now moving forward, opening a new chapter in the life of the coalition and let us see what the negotiations produce. It would be premature for me to attempt to make a choice. Let us hope that any other Prime Minister, would serve Guyana as well as he has served,” he added.

“I have stated repeatedly that this is not the time to speak about personalities, but principles and policies. Once we agree on those principles and policies, personalities will fall into place. The coalition has not discussed personalities, apart from the fact that as leader of the coalition, leader of the APNU I will be the Presidential candidate. All other matters are still being discussed and it will be premature to raise these issues at this stage.”

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