Incumbent Alliance For Change (AFC) Leader Khemraj Ramjattan has justified his intention to serve another term as leader of the party, if so nominated by delegates, despite the fact that this will breach the party’s constitution.
According to Ramjattan, the provision in AFC’s constitution is not exclusionary in any way.
According to Article 19 (1) of the AFC’s Constitution, no leader would be allowed to serve more than two consecutive terms in the same office, in the interest of “a broader activism in leadership positions by the membership.”
When contacted for a comment on his direct breach of the party’s constitution, Ramjattan stated that the provision cited was not exclusionary in any way. According to him, the provision does not mandate that he cannot run again.
Ramjattan was elected as AFC Leader in 2012, his term lasting for four years, or the equivalent of two terms. According to Article 7 of the party’s constitution, “A national convention shall be held every two years at a place and time decided by the National Executive Committee.”
Though Ramjattan will be looking to be re-elected to serve in the leadership capacity, he is expected to face stiff competition for the post at the upcoming elections, which will be held at the party’s National Executive Conference (NEC) later this month.
In addition to Ramjattan, Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson and Public Telecommunications Minister Cathy Hughes are seen as contenders for the post.
The AFC’s NEC will be hosted on January 28 at the Vreed-en-Hoop Secondary School in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) – the party’s first NEC outside of Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica).
The NEC will include elections for the positions of the party Leader, Chairman, Vice Chairman, General Secretary and 12 National Executive Members.
The AFC was formed by Ramjattan, current Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman and the late Sheila Holder, in 2005. Trotman became the leader, but a power sharing agreement was enacted that would see the leadership being rotated.
It was with this formula, and the constitution it enacted, that the AFC contested subsequent elections. It has since been subsumed by the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) coalition, a step taken in order to contest the 2015 General Elections.
The AFC has faced criticism from political activist Dr David Hinds for its perceived silence on controversial issues, including the Minister’s salary hike and the sugar industry. According to Hinds, the party appeared to be suffering from apathy and was disconnected from its support base. Dr Hinds had noted that after the promise of transformation it came with, the party seemed to have shifted away from its transformative agenda. In response, the party had stated that it remained committed to change and transformation. (Guyana Times)