One continues to be dismayed by the belligerence of the AFC in the talks on a new Cummingsburg Accord. Yes, negotiations are often tough, but the AFC’s use of threats, ultimatums and grandstanding I find upsetting. These tactics do not come across here as toughness; they smack of “spoilt-childness”. And, if I am the average APNU supporter, then this feeling might not be that limited. In contrast, APNU portrays a public image of calmness, patience and quiet resolve. In a word, maturity.

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The next election is indeed the mother of all elections in Guyana and we need the coalition partners to band together. The sensitivities surrounding the Cummingburg Accord, therefore, have to be carefully managed. The AFC has lazily allowed the perception (whether based in reality or not) to foster that it has lost support among critical voting blocs. The party has not to date used its political and PR assets to effectively counter this damaging narrative. Has the AFC addressed this issue in the negotiations? Has it submitted a plan on how it intends to recapture and build on its electoral support? It would help the party’s public image to do so.

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Notwithstanding, the two partners should postpone these talks for a few weeks. Use the time to call public meetings of their supporters to discuss the political stakes and to do a reality check. APNU supporters, I am sure, would want to hear from, and talk to, their leaders who are close to the heartbeat of the party, such as Volda Lawrence, Amna Ally and Aubrey Norton. After both parties have had this internal conversation and reality check, let the negotiations resume with more maturity and honesty.

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