The much-anticipated meeting between former President David Granger and Alliance For Change (AFC) leader Khemraj Ramjattan, has finally taken place, with reports indicating that Granger has expressed a willingness to step down as Chairman of the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).
APNU/AFC in a statement on Monday to said that the high-level meeting took place between Granger and Ramjattan. Also attending the meeting were Leader of the Opposition Joseph Harmon; Chairman of the AFC Raphael Trotman; Vice Chair of the AFC Catherine Hughes and General Secretary of the AFC, David Patterson.
The coalition said in its statement that the discussions were “fruitful” and that engagements would continue. A well-placed source has meanwhile informed this publication that during the meeting, Granger communicated his willingness to resign the Chairmanship of APNU -possibly by the end of the week- since he no longer leads the largest party in the coalition, the People’s National Congress/Reform (PNCR).
Still uncertain, however, is whether this willingness to step down extends to his role as Representative of the APNU/AFC list of candidates. And if he does step down, questions remain over whether the role would fall to new PNC/R leader Aubrey Norton or to Ramjattan, the Deputy Representative of the list. This publication’s source has indicated, however, that further meetings are expected to be held during the week.
While Norton is backed by the Executive of the PNC/R to take up the mantle of Leader of the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) parliamentary Opposition and Representative of the List, Harmon and Granger have so far not relinquished those positions.
During a press conference last week, Norton had said that engagements are still ongoing within the party and that Granger will at some point join the discussions. Asked if any timeline has been set for the conclusion of these discussions, Norton responded in the negative. When pressed for more information, the PNC Leader had admitted that Granger has since been engaged on these matters.
“The Leader of the List was engaged and there will be continuous engagement,” Norton had explained.
However, he added that, “As far as I know, the discussions involve the Leader of the PNC and the Leader of the Opposition. As far as I know from Mr Granger, the former leader of the party has decided that he will engage but he wants to see the outcome of this first phase of discussion.”
Harmon, who lost his bid for the PNCR leadership to Norton, has since insisted that he should remain Opposition Leader. Harmon was also not re-elected to the PNC’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) – the highest decision-making body of the party.
The APNU has already issued a statement noting that “the members of A Partnership for National Unity have had no reason to question the abilities of David Granger and Khemraj Ramjattan as Head and Deputy Head of the List of the APNU/AFC, we have had no reason to question the leadership of Joseph Harmon as Leader of the Opposition and we have had no reasons to question the abilities of any Member of Parliament. While we are yet to meet with the new PNCR Leader Mr Aubrey Norton, we are expecting to have a good working relationship with him as we’ve had with former President David Granger.”
Ramjattan has meanwhile previously made it clear that the established procedures must be followed before the Leader of the Opposition or Representative of the List of the APNU/AFC Coalition can be changed.