Patterson denies reports that AFC considering split from APNU

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Former Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson

General Secretary of the Alliance For Change (AFC) David Patterson has denied reports that the party is considering pulling away from its coalition with the PNC-led A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).

During an interview with this publication, Patterson said the party is preparing for its National Executive Conference (NEC) on June 11 and among the issues to be discussed is the AFC’s “way forward”.

“The way forward document is the way forward for the next two years for the Alliance For Change,” Patterson said.

“All our nominations closed at 8:00pm [on Wednesday] …there are lots of nominations for all the positions. The AFC has a tradition, every year, all the positions are competed for,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the former Public Infrastructure Minister said he would run for leadership of the AFC if nominated.

The NEC is the highest decision-making forum of the AFC during which delegates vote for persons to fill executive positions of Leader, Chairman, Deputy Chairman, General Secretary, and Treasurer. This is in addition to the election of ten members to represent the ten regions of the country and four members to represent the diaspora.

The conference had been deferred last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The members of the National Executive Committee agreed in a meeting last month that the conference will be held on June 11. A hybrid system where regional delegates would gather at a central internet-ready location and join the online platform will be employed.

In 2019, Khemraj Ramjattan was declared Leader of the AFC with Raphael Trotman elected Chairman. Catherine Hughes returned as the party’s Vice-Chair while Patterson was elected General Secretary.

A few months ago, the People’s National Congress Reform elected longstanding party stalwart Aubrey Norton as their leader in a landslide win against the then Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon and Dr Richard Van West-Charles. However, an internal power struggle ensued and Harmon submitted his resignation as an APNU Member of Parliament.

Harmon had previously stepped down as Opposition Leader in January of this year, amid
The AFC had joined hands with the APNU to contest the 2015 General and Regional Elections and the coalition subsequently won. The parties signed the Cummingsburg Accord, which outlined the parliamentary seats and ministerial portfolios for AFC and APNU members, respectively.

However, APNU, led by former President David Granger had been accused of continuously violating the Accord. The party announced in 2020 that it would be reviewing the Accord.

On December 24, 2019, after much back and forth between APNU and the AFC, a revised Cummingsburg Accord was signed, but the full details were never released to the public.