Infighting heightens within APNU camp; WPA wants “two nominees” for Parliament, RDC withdrawn

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WPA Chairperson Tabitha Sarabo-Halley was picked by David Granger to return to Parliament

As infighting heightens within the A Partnership for Nation Unity (APNU) camp, the Working Peoples Alliance (WPA) one of the smaller parties within the political grouping, has requested that its “two nominees” on the APNU list for Parliament and the Region 4 Regional Democratic Council (RDC), be removed forthwith.

In a letter to APNU Leader David Granger, the WPA, a party which was founded by respected historian and politician Dr Walter Rodney, indicated that it has withdrawn from the political group citing several instances of the Peoples National Congress (PNC) taking and implementing decisions without the involvement of smaller parties.

The letter which was signed by party Secretary, Tacuma Ogunseye, referred to the most recent case of the PNC leadership unilaterally selecting persons to represent the APNU/AFC Coalition in the 12th Parliament.

“To our utter embarrassment, not for the first time the WPA was informed by the media that APNU had decided on its representatives for the next National Assembly,” the letter states.

WPA Chairman Tabitha Sarabo-Halley, who was the Minister of Public Service under the Coalition Government, was selected by Granger to return to the Parliament.

APNU Leader David Granger

The party explained that it was only after a letter was sent to Granger enquiring about the state of affairs that it was informed by the General Secretary of the PNCR, that the Chairperson of the WPA is one of the selected persons.

“This of course was done without any engagement with WPA, thus denying the party an opportunity to determine who its representative should be. We view this as uncomradely, disrespectful, insulting, a gross disregard for principle and, therefore, unacceptable”.

According to the WPA, since the formation of the APNU and particularly since the rise to office in 2015 of the APNU+AFC Coalition, there have been several violations of the principles governing coalition politics. “These violations have threatened to dismantle the APNU. Most noteworthy has been how important decisions are arrived at”.

The WPA has pointed out that on several occasions, it had to draw attention to the practice of non-consultation within the APNU stating that it cannot be denied that the behaviour of the PNCR leadership in this regard has left a lot to be desired.

“Decisions affecting the APNU have been made and continue to be made in the name of the constituent parties without consultations. In other words, we have had to live with PNC’s decisions being  imposed on the rest of the APNU. Unfortunately, although the Coalition is now out of power, nothing has changed for the better within the APNU,” the letter adds.

Just recently, General Secretary of the Justice For All Party (JFAP) Savitri Sharma told this publication that the PNC has ‘used and discarded’ the smaller parties that helped put them into government.

CN Sharma and his wife, Savitri. [Photo taken from the Guyana Chronicle]
“We feel that we were used when they needed us and now that they don’t need us they kicked the small parties out under the pretext of saying that we are cardboard parties. We were the parties which caused APNU to go into Government.

“If we were not there, APNU would not have been in Government. So, they stood on our backs to climb to where they were, and now that they got there, they don’t have need for [our] support any longer,” Sharma had said during an interview with INews.

JFAP, which is led by Chandranarine Sharma, had a seat in the last Parliament which his son, Jaipaul Sharma, occupied. The snub this time did not sit well with the party.

Mrs Sharma said as a member of the APNU, their party was never consulted in the crafting of the parliamentary list and several correspondences to the PNC went unanswered.

Even in its own camp, there is major strife within the PNCR over the selection of the new parliamentarians, with several senior members being left out by Granger.

PNC Member James Bond had taken to social media to blast the party for excluding certain members, including himself, from serving as a Member of Parliament in the 12th Parliament.

Bond criticised that PNC and its current leadership for not consulting with the party’s membership before making its decision on the parliamentarians.

However, on Tuesday, the PNC issued a statement contending that “youth” was a major criterion in the decisions taken, saying that it is time to rebuild the party.

The party, however, failed to directly address the concerns raised by Bond who threatened to challenge the current PNC leadership.