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– Harmon blames breakdown in communication for row
A breakdown in communication may have been the cause for the dispute between the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and its coalition partner, the Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) over the Vice Chairmanship of Region 4 (Demerara-Mahaica).
An agreement signed ahead of the 2020 General and Regional Elections had guaranteed the AFC the Vice Chairmanship in Regions Four and Seven, but when the elections were held at the level of the Regional Democratic Councils earlier this week, APNU Councilors with the support of one AFC councilor voted to have its own member Samuel Sandy elected as Vice Chairman of Region Four.
The AFC had nominated Neilson McKenzie for the Vice Chairman post. The breach of the agreement resulted in AFC General Secretary David Patterson resigning from that post. He has also reportedly signaled his intention to resign as a Member of Parliament.
During a virtual press conference on Friday, APNU General Secretary Joseph Harmon, while confirming that an agreement between the coalition partners had assured the AFC the Vice Chairman posts in Region Four and Seven, said an investigation into the issue has been completed.
“…While that investigation has concluded, the chairman of the A Partnership for the National Unity – David Granger – will communicate with Khemraj Ramjattan – the Leader of the Alliance For Change and that they will take it from there,” Harmon said in response to a questioned posed. It is expected that during the meeting with the Leaders, a decision would be taken on whether or not Sandy would be required stepdown to pave way for McKenzie to take up the Vice Chairmanship as per the agreement.
Harmon said it was the responsibility of the APNU and AFC to inform its Councilors at the level of the RDCs about the agreement, however, based on the investigation, it would appear that some councilors were unaware of the particulars of that agreement.
“My understanding is that there might have been some breakdown in communication but is a matter which is being investigated as well,” the APNU General Secretary said. In Region 4, People’s National Congress/Reform (PNC/R) Central Executive Member Aubrey Norton was tasked with advising the councilors on the agreement.
Noting that he is unware of Patterson’s intention to resign from the Parliament, Harmon expressed the hope that Patterson would rescind his resignation with regards to his General Secretary post on the AFC. He noted that Patterson remains an active APNU+AFC Member of Parliament.
“In political life, sometimes there are bumps, ups and down, but the importance as a coalition our parties are better together and we subscribe to some basic principles that sees the need for us uniting as a country, that eschew one party rule, and that recognise that inclusive governance is important to the development of Guyana.