Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
|The coalition relationship between the Alliance For Change (AFC) and A Partnership For National Unity (APNU), according to the agreement in the Cummingburg Accord, will end on December 31, 2022. The issue of remaining in the coalition, at the end of the agreement, has always been on the party’s agenda, said party Chairman, Mrs. Cathy Hughes.
In an interview with Village Voice, Hughes said while the AFC did not exactly have the optimal relationship they had hoped for in the APNU+AFC coalition, the party believes in coalition politics. In response to the report that the party is expected to leave the coalition at the expiration of the Accord, the chairman believes that context is important for understanding the party’s position.
Party Leader, Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan, in a Globespan interview, had addressed the expiration of the Cummingsburg Accord in December 2022, and the decision of the party to leave the Coalition at that time. Hughes said “although leaving is highly likely, it is not written in stone.” Contextualising the AFC’s reality, the chairman noted the ever present challenges of coalition politics where smaller parties are always likely to give up a little more and having to deal with perception of being subsumed by larger parties.
Citing the British experience of the Cameron–Clegg coalition, formed by Prime Minister David Cameron (Conservative) and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrat), she said the relationship was not without its challenges. And whereas the AFC believes in coalition, Hughes said sorting out how it should work in reality has to be looked at. Issues such as how do individual parties maintain their values as independent entities even as they govern as a unit is one such for examination.
Noting that for a start there has to be a maturity to understand how coalition politics should work in order for it to succeed, Hughes mentioned this is a challenge for Guyana because it is not something the society is used to. That is, “to bring everybody’s agenda into one common goal.” It had been a challenge and a priority to have their agenda incorporated in the APNU+AFC government’s agenda, said Hughes, who cited Constitutional Reform and amendment to marijuana penalties as high on the AFC’s agenda but they were not of a similar priority for the APNU.
The Chairman would like to see greater involvement and consultation in decision-making between and among the parties. She expressed having personal regret that enough time was not spent working out the inner workings of how the parties within the coalition could have made it a give and take, and where other members still had a way of working together but respecting the rights of others to assert their independence.
The AFC, according to Hughes, is taking a side step to work out the relationship. The party recognises that they have to focus, rebuild, be stronger to bring to any coalition that might emerge again. At this juncture, she said, “the focus is looking inwards to the AFC and rebuilding the AFC, strengthening and establishing new groups.”