“The Alliance For Change came out of the meeting united having reaffirmed its commitment to the principle of rotation of its top two candidates for the 2011 election bid,” the party said in a statement issued last night after “healthy” deliberations on several key issues.
Stabroek News was told after the meeting that party leader Raphael Trotman and Chairman Khemraj Ramjattan would both remain in their current posts. The meeting was called to deal primarily with the principle of rotation within the party’s structure and the criteria for the selection of presidential and prime ministerial candidates. There had been strong division among leaders about rotation, as a result of the interest in some members in Trotman stepping down in order to allow Ramjattan to assume the leadership and receive an endorsement as the presidential candidate. There had been disagreement between members supporting Trotman continuing in the position and others who insisted that the “rotation principle” be adhered to. Party leaders had agreed on the rotation principle as a gesture to affirm solidarity and signal a break from race-based politics they said were perpetuated by the PPP/C and PNCR.
In a statement, the party added that the democratic voting process was carried by a vote from local, regional and international representatives of the NEC who participated in the meeting. Regional and international party groups were officially mandated to nominate candidates for the presidential and prime ministerial positions, after which the NEC will make recommendations to its national conference scheduled for later in the year. Additionally, the party said that the recommended criteria for selection for candidates from the subcommittee tasked with identifying the slate of candidates were unanimously adopted. Additionally, the NEC reaffirmed its total commitment to forging compatible alliances.The AFC is playing a three-card trick on Guyanese. In the last general elections Raphael Trotman was the AFC’s presidential candidate and Khemraj Ramjattan was his running mate/prime ministerial candidate. If, as the AFC says, it has “reaffirmed its commitment to the principle of rotation of its top two candidates for the 2011 election bid,” the natural presidential candidate next year should be Mr Ramjattan. Why, then, AFC groups have been “officially mandated to nominate candidates for the presidential and prime ministerial positions?” Rotation doesn’t require nomination. My conclusion: the AFC remains a divided party. It’s statement that party leaders “came out of the meeting united” is sheer bravado, intended to trick Guyanese.