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AFC’s leader admits date, agenda still being worked out

first_imgCummingsburg February 14th review deadlineAlliance For Change (AFC) Leader Raphael Trotman on Thursday admitted that the date and agenda for talks between his party and the A Partnership for National Unity coalition (APNU) on the revision of the Cummingsburg Accord are still being worked out, signalling that no official or formalised discussions have commenced this year.AFC’s General Secretary Marlon WilliamsTrotman’s pronouncements sharply contrast the comments made publicly by his General Secretary Marlon Williams who told the media back on March 20 that discussions had already begun between the two sides on the revision of the Valentine’s Day Accord.Williams had even said then that Trotman had dispatched the formal letter to trigger the talks a “long time back” as was mandated by the National Executive Committee which is the second highest decision-making forum of the AFC.“We are already engaged and we are in discussions”, Williams was quoted as saying before explaining that the talks are expected to continue over a specified period of time. He had also declined to state then how long that period could last and instead pointed online media house Inews to the party’s release on the matter which had called for talks and a review to be completed by February 14. That date had elapsed without any substantive progress being accomplished.Asked if he was satisfied with the engagements between the APNU and AFC back in March, Williams declined to offer any assessment of the process.“I think we will be in a far better position to give an assessment at the end of those talks”, the AFC General Secretary contended as he stayed clear of offering any analysis that could signal the party’s displeasure or satisfaction with what has transpired so far.But AFC’s leader on Thursday maintained that arrangements are now being worked out for officials from the AFC and APNU to meet to commence discussions regarding the sweetheart deal – the Cummingsburg Accord – following pressure to do so by AFC members.He said the matter is still on the front burner and a meeting between both parties could be arranged soon. While he could not give specific details, he did state however that discussions will be advanced as soon as these arrangements are worked out.“The letter (to the APNU) has been sent and we are setting the date for that meeting and the agenda for that meeting. That meeting could happen very soon, but I can’t give a date,” Trotman explained while noting that executives within the AFC have been discussing this issue for some time now.However, APNU executive Amna Ally when asked whether any progress has been made with regards to discussion regarding the revision of the Accord, refused to comment. The APNU was awaiting official correspondence from the AFC to meet.In mid-November 2017, the top leadership of the AFC had decided to revise its governing agreement with coalition partner, APNU. This decision was taken after the AFC – the smaller of the two factions forming the Government – was accused of being coerced by its large partner.There have been reports that the AFC was not too comfortable with the current Cummingsburg Accord which sets how the two coalition partners would divide up the Ministries. A deadline for February 14 was set to review the plan, but that fell through after several issues regarding how they will move ahead.Political analyst Dr David Hinds has said the AFC stands to lose more than they would gain if they are to revise the Accord. While declaring that there is no need to rush a renegotiation of the Accord, the Working People’s Alliance executive noted that these things by their very definition move at a slow pace.“Remember the AFC got more from the Accord than it duly deserved – it struck a hard bargain and got quite a lot. So, it would be conscious that it risks messing up a “good thing.” Once the Government becomes entrenched, there is less and less reason to upset the status quo – that is a reality,” he stated.According to Dr Hinds, he thinks the AFC is overly eager to touch the Accord and it would make little political sense to push for it, when the risks far outweigh the potential benefits.Nevertheless, President David Granger who leads the APNU, said the AFC is within its right to request the review and noted that he is willing to facilitate discussions regarding this review process.Under the current configuration of Government, the AFC has received the portfolios of the Prime Minister, Public Security Ministry, Public Infrastructure Ministry, and the Agriculture Ministry, among others.The party named a Cummingsburg Accord Review Committee (CARC) of eight members – Dr Vincent Adams, Dr Rohan Somar, Marlon Williams, David Patterson, Joel Edmond, Sherod Duncan and one representative each from the party’s Women For Change and Youth For Change.last_img

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