With yet another fallout between the A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change, Senior People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) member, Dr Karen Cummings, has downplayed the concerns of the smaller coalition partner, indicating that the party will move forward with or without them.
This latest fallout stemmed from the election of the Chair and Vice Chair for the Region Four Regional Democratic Council (RDC) whereby the AFC was snubbed for the position of Vice Chair despite a previous agreement between the two sides.
AFC had nominated Neilson McKenzie for the position while APNU nominated Samuel Sandy and the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) nominated Desmond Morian.
Both the APNU’s and PPP’s nominees had 14 votes each and the AFC had five. But the Chairman, APNU’s Captain Daniel Seeram used his deciding vote to break the tie and voted for Sandy.
During a virtual press conference on Wednesday, Dr Cummings, described the process as transparent but noted that she was unaware of the previous arrangement to give the position to the AFC.
“It was very fair and transparent [process]. I wasn’t privy to original decisions but what I know, sitting there at that point in time, it was unanimous,” she stated, while recalling the process.
However, when asked about the current status of the relationship of the coalition, Dr Cummings noted that the Coalition is on a forward trajectory and it’s up to the parties to follow along.
“We all have freedom of choice and you’re free to come. But we are accommodating, we’ve always stretch out the olive branch to you and so it’s up to you. But this is a movement; we are moving forward.
“So you come with us, you going forward; if you not with us, you stay at the back but like everything else, we want to come together. As I said before, united we stand; divided we fall. So, we don’t have time for travail and cavil, and using the devil’s advocate to disturb us because there is a lot of distractions here,” she asserted.
The PNCR led-APNU – which is the majority party in the Coalition – has been embroiled in an internal power struggle that has been playing out publicly.
Already, two of the parties in the five-member partnership – the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) and the Justice For All Party (JFAP) – have resigned, citing sidestepping of smaller parties by the PNCR – the leading party in the APNU grouping.
This was at a time when there is already tensed relations between the two coalition partners.
The AFC had to settled for a 30-70 percent division of parliamentary seats in a revised Cummingsbug Accord – a significant reduction from the initial 40-60 percent arrangement.
However, this tension was heightened over the past days following the recent controversy surrounding the election of the Region Four Vice Chairman. In fact, this issue has already resulted in David Patterson tendering his resignation as General Secretary of the AFC.
Patterson had helped craft the revised agreement and brokered the arrangement for the AFC to get the Vice Chair positions in Regions Four and Seven.
But Dr Cummings on Wednesday argued that what transpired at the Region Four RDC is in keeping with the 70-30 formula between the APNU and the AFC, respectively.
Nevertheless, Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon has since indicated that it would be investigating what transpired at the Region Four RDC election on Monday last.