Alliance For Change (AFC) Vice Chairman Moses Nagamootoo and former party leader Raphael Trotman will be vying against incumbent Leader Khemraj Ramjattan for the highest position in the minority partner in the governing alliance at its National Executive Conference (NEC) this weekend.
Though the Constitution of the AFC stipulates that an office holder should not hold the same position for more than two consecutive terms, Ramjattan will be running for a third term – having been appointed as leader since 2012. Even though he has argued against a third term for former President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, Ramjattan has since claimed that the AFC constitution is not mandatory.
But Trotman, who is one of the founders of the AFC, strongly objected to the notion of one member holding the same position for more than two consecutive terms.
“The constitution says it ought to rotate and I believe that we should, unless there is some extraordinary situation. The delegates will of course, have a right to choose. But I believe that we should try to adhere to the constitution unless the delegates feel otherwise,” the AFC Executive Member explained.
Trotman, who also aided in the crafting of the party’s constitution, noted that the spirit of the constitution was to ensure that the leadership is constantly rotated.
“So definitely, it does not say ‘shall’ like the constitution, but I believe the intention of the framers of the AFC constitution – and I was certainly one of them – was to ensure that there was movement. And we should do our best to ensure that we honour the spirit of the (AFC) constitution… I believe that this is something the delegates would have to ponder and make a decision on,” he stated.
This position was also supported by Attorney-at-Law Chris Ram, who claimed he was there when the constitution was drafted and even assisted in the process.
Opposition Leader Dr Jagdeo has since observed that the differences among the party’s senior members regarding the interpretation of the AFC constitution points to the “implosion” of the AFC.
Meanwhile, Nagamootoo, Ramjattan and Trotman are also contesting for the post of AFC Chairman, which is currently vacant following the resignation of Nigel Hughes. Nagamootoo is currently acting Chairman.
Also vying for this spot is Executive Member Catherine Hughes.
Vice Chairman is being contested by Nagamootoo, Trotman, Hughes, Valerie Garrido Lowe and Audwin Rutherford.
Additionally, David Patterson is being challenged for the General Secretary post by Michael Carrington, Alison Mohamed and Marlon Williams.
A major shakeup in the AFC’s leadership structure is expected at its NEC which will be held at the Vreed-en-Hoop Secondary School on January 28.
At the NEC, the AFC will also appoint its 12 National Executive Committee members from a total of 73 nominees.
In addition to the 12 elected members of the National Executive Committee, each Regional Management Committee and overseas chapter, along with Women For Change and Youth For Change are entitled to send a representative to the Executive Committee meetings.
In addition, the Executive Committee can co-opt up to five members if the need arises for additional representation in particular areas.
The party has an electoral college system comprising of 275 delegates which are allocated as follows: Region One (Barima-Waini) – 10 delegates, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) – 20 delegates, Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) – 15 delegates, Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) – 75 delegates, Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) – 20 delegates, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) – 40 delegates, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) – 10 delegates, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) – 10 delegates, Region Nine (Upper Takatu-Upper Essequibo) – 10 delegates, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) – 20 delegates, Women For Change (WFC) – 10 delegates, Youths For Change (YFC) – 10 delegates, USA Chapter – nine delegates, Canada Chapter – six delegates, Caribbean Chapter – six delegates and United Kingdom Chapter – four delegates.