Another AFC Member walks

Former AFC Executive Member Joel Edmond
Former AFC Executive Member Joel Edmond

Joel Edmond, the husband of Opposition Coalition Member of Parliament Geeta Chandan-Edmond, has resigned from the Alliance For Change (AFC) – the second party member to leave within the past week.

According to a correspondence dated February 20, 2021, that was seen by this publication, the Executive Member indicated that his resignation from the party is with immediate effect.

In the letter, which was addressed to AFC General Secretary David Patterson, Edmond further noted “… I completely withdraw my support from the AFC Party, hence by further extension my total disassociation from the APNU+AFC.”

Edmond served two terms as an Executive Member and thanked the party for the opportunity but stressed that this is not the end of his political career.

“This resignation does not mean the end of my political career since I intend to continue the fight for the true sense of democracy in Guyana,” he posited.

APNU/AFC had come under heavy fire both locally and from the international community after it attempted to “undermine democracy” in Guyana when it tried to steal the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections, throwing the country into a five-month-long political impasse.

The prolonged elections was only brought to an end after a 33-day recount exercise confirmed that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic secured over 15,000 votes more than the then incumbent coalition, thus paving the way for the swearing-in of the Dr Irfaan Ali-led Government on August 2, 2020.

On Monday last, former coalition MP in the 11th Parliament, Reynard Ward also resigned, saying the party is locked “…in a broken, abusive and one-sided relationship…” with the PNC-led A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).

According to Ward, during the pre-coalition era, the party was considered the public’s “pitbull” but is now a puppet to the People’s National Congress.

“There seems to be no hope for a better tomorrow with the current players even with a reshuffle. The bitterness and backbiting will eat away the very fact that many hard-working hands built over the trust over the years,” the agricultural scientist told Patterson in his letter.

Ward and Edmond have now joined a long list of senior members of the party who have walked away from the AFC, which is the minority party in the coalition.

In August last, longtime member Gobin Harbhajan resigned from the party, stating that it has strayed from its core values.

Two months later, Abel Seetaram, a former Regional Councillor for Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) also resigned and later that same month, Audwin Rutherford, a parliamentarian for Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) resigned, contending that it has lost its way and has been subsumed by the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR).

Those were the same reasons given by Linden Alliance, who too had resigned from the party the following month.

Meanwhile, one month prior, former Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson had also resigned from the position of General Secretary. But he later withdrew the resignation.

However, the AFC leadership appears unfazed by the fact that its senior membership is dwindling and noted that it has had several “successful recruitment drives” with hundreds of new members joining.

Further, during a press briefing on Wednesday last, AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan and Patterson had brushed off the claims of the party playing a submissive role to the APNU – a longstanding criticism since they joined forces in 2015.