The leadership of the Alliance For Change (AFC) is to formally write A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) on a revision of the Cummingsburg Accord which birthed the coalition and saw it winning the 2015 general elections.
In a statement yesterday, the AFC’s National Executive Committee says that it wants a review and revision of the ground-breaking accord by February 14 next year, its third anniversary and the date on which the life of the coalition is to expire.
With the end of November already approaching, critics will likely ask why this process has not yet begun. In recent weeks, the AFC has been pilloried over decisions taken by President David Granger and the government such as the unilateral appointment of retired justice James Patterson as Chairman of GECOM. The AFC has been criticised for supporting this decision and not insisting on being consulted.
Yesterday’s statement from the AFC said that the NEC has named members to the party’s negotiating team in anticipation of APNU naming its negotiating team. The NEC also pointed to the need for strengthening of the party’s structures to prepare for the 2018 local government elections and to enhance the performance of the party’s secretariat.
The AFC had appointed a team on May 1st this year to review the Cummingsburg Accord. The mandate of the committee had been to pinpoint areas in the accord which may require strengthening and updating. The review team comprised Dr Vincent Adams, Dr. Rohan Somar, AFC General Secretary Marlon Williams, former General Secretary David Patterson, Joel Edmond, Sherod Duncan, a Representative of Women For Change and a Representative of Youth For Change.
In August this year, the AFC said that the review committee had found that the lack of a proper dispute resolution mechanism within the Cummingsburg Accord is a primary issue.
“The review committee has enshrined that we must have a far better mechanism of inter-party discussion as well as dispute resolution. Recommendations have also been made on the composition of boards and on local government authorities,” AFC executive member Patterson had told a press conference.
Other suggestions included that the government should hold regular meetings with executives of various parties in the coalition.
The Cummingsburg Accord, Patterson noted, expires in February, 2018, three years after it was first signed. As a result, it would require renewal if the AFC intends to contest expected local government elections next year as part of a coalition with APNU, as well as general elections in 2020.
Patterson noted then that AFC members have been mandated to start preparations for the local government elections though a decision has not yet been made as to whether the AFC will contest alone or as part of the coalition.
Following the decision to establish the review committee, AFC leader Raphael Trotman had said that it had been tasked with widely consulting with the party’s members and stakeholders to listen to their views and recommendations and examine the agreement itself and present a preliminary report on the areas that require further examination.
Among the terms of the Cummingsburg Accord were:
APNU will nominate the Presidential candidate and AFC will nominate the Prime Ministerial candidate.
The AFC is assured of 12 seats in the National Assembly (Parliament).
In the construct of a new government the APNU will be allocated one Vice President and AFC two Vice Presidents both of whom will be members of the Cabinet.