AFC seats slashed by 25% in new agreement

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David Granger and Moses Nagamootoo during the signing of the original Cummingsburg Accord in 2015.

A final high-level meeting between coalition partners A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and Alliance for Change (AFC) on Thursday has resulted in the minority party leaving with a smaller share of the pie than it went in with.

Last week, the AFC disclosed that the “single outstanding” matter between the two parties had to do with the allotment of ministerial, parliamentary and Regional Democratic Council (RDC) posts.

The 2015 Accord had catered for the APNU to get 60 per cent while the AFC gets 40 per cent of the allotments in the three categories. However, reports coming out of Thursday’s meeting reveal that the AFC was handed only 30 per cent of the allocations, which leaves its majority partner with 70 per cent.

This means that should the coalition win the upcoming elections in March 2020, the AFC’s seats will be slashed by 25 per cent when compared with its allotments agreed upon in the original Accord.

The APNU/AFC coalition was toppled by a No-Confidence Motion (NCM) in December 2018 when AFC parliamentarian, Charrandas Persaud, crossed over and voted in favour of the Opposition-tabled motion.

This, coupled with the AFC’s poor performance at the November 2018 Local Government Elections (LGE), did not give the party much to take to the negotiations table.

Another contentious issue the two parties have been battling out is the selection of a Prime Ministerial candidate. The 2015 agreement saw the APNU getting the Presidential post while the PM candidacy went to the AFC.

As such, the AFC went ahead and selected its leader, Khemraj Ramjattan, to run alongside Presidential Candidate David Granger.

Following Thursday’s meeting, which was held between the leaders of the APNU and AFC, accompanied by Volda Lawrence and David Patterson, respectively, attempts to confirm these final agreements between the two parties were futile.

Ramjattan would only describe the meeting as “excellent”.

However, asked whether the coalition partners will be contesting next year’s General and Regional Elections together, both sides responded in the affirmative.

The AFC leader declared, “Certainly! We’re going into the elections as a coalition, I can tell you that. Together is better”.