ALLIANCE For Change (AFC) Leader, Mr. Raphael Trotman, downplayed the significance of his rival colleague and current party Chairman, Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan, at a meeting in Miami last Friday, according to well-placed sources. Trotman and Ramjattan are in a leadership battle following the failure by the party’s top brass earlier this month to honour a rotation agreement that would have seen Ramjattan take over as AFC leader.
Party insiders said Trotman’s faction is insisting that Ramjattan is unsuitable to lead the AFC while the Ramjattan group is accusing the party’s prime movers of alienation tactics.
Businessman Mr. Peter Ramsaroop, who recently resigned as AFC Chief Executive Officer and withdrew his membership of the party, joined Trotman at the Miami meeting with eleven other AFC supporters. Ramsaroop, a week ago, publicly expressed his displeasure at Ramjattan’s leadership.
Sources at the Miami meeting said that Trotman, defending his position of retaining the leadership, argued that while Ramjattan means well, he has not delivered the goods for the party, recalling his miserable performance in his constituency in the 2006 general elections.
Trotman reportedly said that the AFC leadership at this time needs someone who is erudite, logical, practical and realistic to go after the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) in 2011.
The sources said he also referred to the numerous embarrassments Ramjattan caused the AFC, including having to apologise in the National Assembly for a grossly inaccurate charge against the government.
According to the sources, Trotman’s comments attracted loud cheers from the small gathering, with some proclaiming, “Let’s go after the PPP with Trotman in 2011’’.
The AFC is leading a bid for an opposition coalition with the larger People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) for next year’s general elections.
Trotman said at a press conference last week that the party’s bid for an opposition alliance was not one of personalities, but of principles and programmes.
He said the programme to take Guyana forward will first have to be outlined and persons will then fit themselves in.
Trotman is a former senior PNCR member and parliamentarian who defected to form his own party, while Ramjattan is a defector from the PPP.
The AFC is now seeking to merge with the PNCR after bitter differences earlier this year, when Trotman accused Corbin of being in secret talks with President Bharrat Jagdeo on a shared governance agreement for the 2011 elections.
Trotman flatly declared then that the AFC was not discussing an alliance with the PNCR, but Corbin said the two parties have had several meetings, discussions and consultations on the issue.