Attorney and Chairman of the Alliance For Change (AFC) Nigel Hughes has agreed to have his letter of resignation as Chairman of the party deferred, while he proceeds on indefinite leave of absence, as leaders of the party make careful consideration of his decision.
The new development took place on Wednesday, following a high-level meeting involving party leader Khemraj Ramjattan, General Secretary David Patterson and Hughes.
According to a release from the party, during the meeting detailed and frank discussions were held on the current political environment in Guyana and in particular “the coalition Government’s first year in office, the party’s relationship with its coalition partners and the AFC’s performance during this period.”
It said after a “most productive working session”, it was agreed that consideration by the party of Hughes’s resignation letter will be deferred and he would instead proceed on leave of absence from the duties and responsibilities of Chairman for a period of reflection and review after which a mutual decision will be taken.
According to the release, Hughes has reiterated firmly and unequivocally that he remains fully committed to the AFC and its development agenda for the country and he will remain an active and vocal member of the party.
It was further agreed that during his absence from active duties as Chairman, he will continue political and policy work on behalf of the Party by concentrating his efforts on three critical and important pillars of the AFC’s agenda, including Constitutional Reform, Broadcasting Legislation and other core legal matters which the AFC has committed itself to advance in the interest of Guyana.
It said the party’s leadership “wholeheartedly recognises the significant contribution of the Chairman and accepts his decision to recalibrate his focus and attention at this time as the Party continues its historic mission on setting Guyana on a firm and steady path of sustained progress”.
On Monday, Hughes announced his decision to relinquish the post of Chairman of the AFC, saying the following day that it had become “difficult and untenable” for him.
Hughes made the decision to resign his post during a statutory committee meeting on Monday. While the statement published by the party immediately after did not give any specifics, it did indicate that the party’s leader and Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan was expected to meet with Hughes, in the hopes that he (Hughes) would reconsider his decision.
AFC insiders say the Attorney quit over a strongly-worded statement issued following an Executive Council meeting on Sunday, which called for a trimming of the powers of Minister of State Joseph Harmon.
That meeting was not attended by either Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman or Ramjattan. Another statement by the AFC followed, distancing both Ministers from the call by Hughes.
This is not the first time the Chairman has tendered his resignation to the party. In August 2013, Hughes submitted his resignation after a publication by Kaieteur News disclosed him as the Company Secretary of the Amaila Falls Hydro Power Project. The project, which was being propelled in the National Assembly then by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration of the day, was heavily criticised by both the AFC and the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Opposition.
He later rescinded that decision.
Hughes has been with the AFC since July 2011 and was elected Chairman on August 4, 2012.