HAVING reached a consensus, the Alliance for Change (AFC) and its coalition partner – the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) – will soon sign a new Cummingsburg Accord as they prepare to contest the 2020 General and Regional Elections as a single unit.
AFC’s Leader Khemraj Ramjattan made the disclosure during a press conference on Friday at the Centre for Change.

Under the new accord, the AFC will retain certain Cabinet posts. However, in the National Assembly, it will only get 30 per cent of the seats secured by the coalition based on the 70:30 ratio agreed upon with APNU. The formula will also guide the allocation of seats at the level of the Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs).

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“The parties will campaign jointly for the reelection of the APNU/AFC coalition with a view to winning the 2020 elections and delivering on its commitments to the citizens of Guyana. Much has been achieved by the parties in the first term in office and much more will be achieved during a second term together,” Ramjattan told reporters.

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He promised that more details on the accord would be released once it is signed. With the oil production on the horizon, the AFC Leader said Guyanese, under the leadership of the coalition, will see their lives transform for the better. “As a coalition partner, the AFC will bring value to the next government and a reassurance that all Guyanese will benefit from our country’s natural wealth,” he said.

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AFC and the APNU reached a consensus on Thursday during a high-level meeting with Ramjattan and APNU’s Chairman, President David Granger. APNU’s Chief Negotiator Volda Lawrence and her counterpart, David Patterson were also part of the negotiating teams.

The Guyana Chronicle had reported, in September, that the parties had committed to upholding the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and to ensure that no agreement or action collided with or contradicted articles of the Constitution. This newspaper understands that, as part of the core principles, the parties agreed and committed to the establishment of a system of inclusionary democracy, and the advancement of the country’s Green State Development Strategy, Vision 2040.

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They also committed to seeking electoral majorities at the general and regional elections and local government elections and agreed to select candidates for the aforementioned elections, through participatory and transparent processes, which guarantee that candidates enjoy the majority of their respective constituencies and satisfy all legal criteria for election.

On the issue of allocation of seats in the National Assembly, the Cabinet, Regional Democratic Councils, Municipal and Neighbourhood Democratic Councils, the sides agreed that this would be done on the basis of a formula. The sides agreed, too, that the prerogative of the President to appoint members of cabinet and ministers and to assign specific ministerial portfolios is explicitly embodied in the Constitution and is inviolable.

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Meanwhile, other aspects of the core principles include the cultivation of respectful relations and, at all times, the parties will act collectively in the best interest of the coalition. They also agreed to speak with one voice on issues of public policy, to support a common manifesto and to issue joint media bulletins and releases on electoral matters.

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Additionally, the parties agreed to abide by the principle of collective responsibility in respect of decisions emanating from Cabinet and to holding common positions on bills, motions and resolutions in the National Assembly. Each party also pledged to inform the other, in advance, of its inability, at any time, to support any measure in the National Assembly.

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Other areas covered in the core principles are that of the publishing of a joint manifesto comprising 12 broad fields: constitutional reform, good governance, economic growth and development, education improvement, energy sector, environmental protection, indigenous peoples, infrastructural development, international relations, social protection and social cohesion, security and human safety, women, gender equality and youth.

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