Ramjattan dethrones Nagamootoo as new PM candidate
It was supposed to have been a closely contested internal election for critical leadership positions in the Alliance For Change (AFC).
At the end of yesterday at the AFC’s congress, the party’s highest decision-making body, it was all that and more– and one filled with upsets. The venue was the St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Seminary at Vryheid’s Lust, East Coast Demerara.
Khemraj Ramjattan, the party’s chairman and co-founder, was earlier in the day given the nod to be the new leader after Raphael Trotman surprisingly declined to run for any position.
Ramjattan was then allowed to run for the leadership position unopposed.
Trotman later relented was declared the new chairman, a post he held before switching with Ramjattan.
Both Cathy Hughes and David Patterson declined nominations for the leadership position. Hughes was re-elected as Vice-Chairperson. She came up against Nicola Trotman, Valarie Lowe and Trevor Williams.
Patterson was re-elected General Secretary. This was after Marlon Williams said he will not be contesting that post.
The last few days saw heavy lobbying with accusations flying back and forth.
In the afternoon, one of the most anticipated and watched development was a motion for there to be a new Prime Ministerial candidate for the upcoming elections.
The motion was carried and a vote was put to the floor. The majority voted for Ramjattan to be the new PM candidate in the coalition with a mere five delegates throwing their weight behind Nagamootoo.
That prompted Nagamootoo to leave the congress even before the closing session.
The internal elections for the party would be critical at this time. On Tuesday, the Caribbean Court of Justice is set to decide on a number of court cases based on the December 21st no-confidence vote in the National Assembly.
The decisions by CCJ could see election being held this year.
The AFC which forms the smaller faction of the Coalition Government by the votes yesterday decided to play it safe by sticking with its old head in the leadership positions.
The AFC has several key ministries with Nagamootoo as the PM.
However, the party has been taking heavy criticisms for the performance of the various ministries, including Agriculture and Public Security. The latter is held by Ramjattan.
Yesterday’s vote for Ramjattan means also that AFC is determined to go again with the A Partnership For National Unity, its coalition partner.
AFC has especially been taking a scalding from its supporters in Berbice with recent local government elections indicating a fall in support in areas that breakthrough votes had been obtained.
Earlier in the day, in his address, Trotman, the current Minister of Natural Resources, stunned delegates after announcing that he will not run for any positions. He, however, endorsed Ramjattan for the leadership position.
Trotman changed his mind after a number of AFC leaders spoke to him.
Shortly before the results of vote for the Prime Minister candidate position, Nagamootoo left the building,
The members of the National Executive Committee of AFC who were elected are Trevor Williams, Reynard Ward, Juretha Fernandes, Vince Adams, Sherod Duncan, Rickey Ramsaroop, Valerie Lowe, Haimraj Rajkumar, Suraj Singh, Allison Mohamed, Subaschand Orilall and Derek Basdeo.