The “contradictory” reports on the APNU and AFC contesting the 2018 Local Government Elections (LGE) separately were acknowledged by Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo.
“The Coalition is not as healthy as they would want to make it look,” he said.
At a news conference held at his Church Street office today, he charged that the insecurities of the AFC seem to be playing out and referred to information regarding “compromising” details on Minister Trotman that have been taken to President Granger.
According to Jagdeo, “a group close to Granger have come upon some compromising information on Trotman and they have presented this to Granger and there is a call for him (Trotman) to go…others are worried that this will become a scandal…so Trotman feels very insecure. This (saying that the AFC will contest LGE independently) is one way of becoming relevant again to the Coalition.”
Jagdeo added that Trotman’s insecurity seemed to also have manifested itself in his “Long live president David Granger” comment at the end of his 2018 Budget presentation in the National Assembly.
In addition to insecurities being played out, Jagdeo noted that the AFC is trying desperately to create an independent identity or the notion among Guyanese that they have one. He said, “The fact is that they are a junior partner in terms of authority and they are desperately clinging on to their perks.”
He stated that the AFC does hold senior government posts – Security, Natural Resources, Business, Agriculture and Public Infrastructure – but their performance is those areas has been dismal. “Public Infrastructure is mired in corruption…in natural resources we have the worse deal that has ever been negotiated (the re-negotiated oil contract)…business is deteriorating….we had one of the biggest failures in law enforcement under Ramjattan…Cathy is clueless and agriculture is dead, to put it mildly,” Jagdeo said.
All considered, the Opposition Leader expressed the view that the AFC will not contest the 2018 LGE independent of APNU. “If they go separately, the AFC will not win…it is not that they lost touch with the people…they betrayed all the principles they stood for — hiding contracts, hiding money outside consolidated fund, supporting unilateral appointment of GECOM chairman and more…this is why they lost support…also they broke their own promises to defend the interest of sugar workers and rice farmers,” he said.
Whatever the decision, the Opposition Leader stressed that the PPP/C will contest the 2018 LGE and expects a massive victory, as was seen in 2016.
Of 1,166 seats up for grabs at the 2016 Local Government Elections, the PPP/C won 754 of those, while APNU+AFC won 375 and the remaining seats went to independent candidates and groups that contested the elections – in other words the PPP/C won 65 per cent of the seats, while 32 per cent went to APNU+AFC.
The PPP/C also won 48 of Local Authority Areas (LAAs) out of the 71 areas. The APNU+AFC won 16 and the other seven areas are tied between the PPP/C and APNU+AFC. The difference of votes was approximately 28,000 – not counting the areas where there was no contest, meaning only the PPP/C fielded candidates.