The Working People’s Alliance (WPA) –a party which makes up the coalition APNU/AFC Government- is of the view that “coalition politics” in Guyana has failed to live up to expectations.
This was disclosed by WPA member, Tacuma Ogunseye, who was alluding to instances where decisions were being made at the level of Cabinet without having members of the other smaller parties within the coalition included.
Ogunseye asserted that leaders of his party owe it to their members to put their continued involvement in A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) on the agenda for serious discussion.
He posited that there are concerns that the party’s time in the coalition has not left any significant impact on the country.
“Relations with the WPA and the PNC/R in the APNU, on a number of issues, have been a serious problem. It has created a lot of internal tensions within the party, both at home and overseas. And I believe that during the last almost three years in Government, many people in the party, both abroad and home, have varying views as to whether the WPA’s presence in Government has been beneficial to the country and the party,” Ogunseye disclosed.
Elaborating on his point, the WPA member said that coalition politics has resulted in the cabinet making and executing policies, and his party only becomes aware of it through the press.
“I am disappointed that in the APNU, the way in which the coalition has developed over the last three years leaves much to be desired. There is little consultation. Little forum for articulating concerns and views; and in any coalition, the groups form policies and the cabinet executes the policies that are designed by the parties.
“But the way in which matters have developed in this coalition is that the cabinet usurps both positions,” Ogunseye explained.
Ogunseye stressed that this is not how a coalition is supposed to work. According to him, a comparison with the PNC’s dealings with the WPA and with the Alliance for Change (AFC) shows that the latter party is shown more consideration than his party.
In the meantime, Ogunseye noted that the WPA has been forced to accept collective responsibility as a party on issues it played little to no part in. Far from improving, he expressed concerns that things were getting worse.
Meanwhile, PNC/R General Secretary Amna Ally expressed unconcern to talks of the WPA breaking away. According to Ally, things were being blown out of proportion.
When contacted however, WPA Executive Dr David Hinds noted that contrary to Ally’s assertion, the party leaving has always been on the agenda, and its members have always been aware that the day may come when hard decisions would have to be made.
Early talks of leaving, however, were suppressed in the interest of “the collective and country” he noted.
“The strength of the Coalition is its (unity). Yet the Minister is saying that she is not worried that one partner is so dissatisfied that some of its leaders are raising the possibility of leaving. How can a spokesperson of a Government and Coalition with a tiny majority in the National Assembly not be worried that there is grave dissatisfaction within the coalition?” Hinds questioned.