Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs and AFC Executive Member, Valerie Garrido-Lowe MINISTER within the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe secured the highest number of votes when the Alliance For Change (AFC) held its biennial elections to elect its 12-Member National Executive Committee (NEC).
Of the 275 delegates that attended the AFC National Conference and Elections at the St. Paul’s Retreat Centre on Saturday, 108 of them voted for Garrido-Lowe to return as an executive member.
EPA Executive Director and AFC Executive Member, Dr. Vincent Adams On Sunday, Minister Garrido-Lowe noted that a large percentage of her supporters came from the hinterland and other parts of the country. She said that going forward, the AFC could expect “more of the same, which is hard work.” The AFC executive said she will continue to place major emphasis on economic empowerment, job creation, and infrastructural development.
Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr. Vincent Adams secured 102 votes, while Member of Parliament Michael Carrington raked in 90 votes. Former Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin; Member of Parliament and new Minister of Business, Haimraj Rajkumar; former Member of Parliament, Trevor Williams; and former Deputy Mayor of Georgetown, Sherod Duncan are among the new executives. The others are: Alison Mohamed, Ricky Ramsaroop, Nicola Trotman, Neilson McKenzie, and Derek Basdeo.
The NEC would receive directives from the newly-elected Leader of the AFC, Khemraj Ramjattan and Raphael Trotman, Chairman, both of whom were also elected on Saturday. Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes was returned as the party’s vice-chair, while Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson was elected general secretary. Notably, in the recent past, Trotman served as Party Leader, and Ramjattan Chairman. Patterson had also served in the capacity of general secretary of the AFC.
BACK TO ITS ORIGINS Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, an elder statesman within the AFC, told reporters that the party has gone back to its original leaders.
AFC Executive Member, Trevor Williams “You would have seen the election of those officers who had already been elected: Khemraj Ramjattan as leader of the party; Raphael Trotman, chairman; David Patterson, general secretary; and Cathy Hughes as vice-chair. You would have seen that the party has reorganised and regrouped, and has gone back to its original leaders,” Prime Minister Nagamootoo said shortly after exiting the conference.
Observers have noted that the AFC, like other major political parties in the country, continues to recycle its “leadership”. But Prime Minister Nagamootoo said the AFC, which has only been in existence 14 years now, is still a fairly young political party. “It’s a young party,” he told reporters.
“When you look at the dinosaurs we have had for 50 years, maybe the traditional parties kept their leadership. They kept them going until some dropped off, and some died, and some retired. But they didn’t change it very often,” he said.
TIME TO ‘INCUBATE’ He said more time is needed to “incubate” the party, and that with time, young people would be included on an even larger scale.
Former Minister of Business and AFC Executive Member, Dominic Gaskin “This party wasn’t born with a women’s arm, but it now has a women’s arm,” he said, adding: “It wasn’t born with a youth arm, and it now youth arm. So the incubating process has started. And I think that this party, the AFC, is as good as any other party, in terms of its age, at this point in time, and its capacity to organise and mobilise.”
Ruling out any notion that the AFC is in the business of “locking out people” and “recycling” others, he said the party remains liberal. He posited that the AFC is “so mature that it has a process of rotation,” emphasising that no other political party in the country has a process of rotation. “We have had a situation in this country where there were leaders for life. And now, the AFC has shown that it is moving away from that,” he added. The AFC has a large youth base when compared to other political parties in the country.