The Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is questioning the process by which the Alliance For Change (AFC) managed to pull out last minute from almost 10 Local Authority Areas (LAAs), for which they had planned to contest at the upcoming Local Government Elections (LGE).The Party’s General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo told a media conference on Thursday that he finds it thought-provoking that the AFC is reluctant to give the locations of those areas.“What is very interesting, is (David) Patterson said that…we are not telling you where. So, they wrote this down on a piece of paper and they folded this paper carefully and locked it in a safe because like it’s a State secret about which areas they are pulling out of,” Jagdeo stated.The AFC on Wednesday announced plans to contest only 38 Local Authority Areas at the upcoming Local Government Elections. This announcement follows previous statements made by the party, where they had initially said the AFC had planned to contest the elections in more than 50 areas.The party blamed a number of issues for the decision not to contest more areas, including political bullying and issues with communication. Patterson said nevertheless, he is satisfied with the position the AFC is in at the moment and the AFC will continue to work hard to prepare for LGE.But the PPP General Secretary questioned the method used by the AFC to pull out, explaining that this would have had to be done within a specific timeframe. “[The Guyana Elections Commission] GECOM is not accepting pulling out anymore. GECOM has already printed the ballots. So, if GECOM printed the ballots and you pull out now, the candidates’ names will still be on the ballot,” he explained.Jagdeo’s contention is since GECOM has made it clear to the PPP that the lists cannot be adjusted, he is now thinking about what mechanism was used to pull out. The PPP had pulled out of one constituency in Wakenaam, but he said this was done within the prescribed period.“If they pull out and we don’t know where they are pulling out from, they are going to still be on the ballot, so how will GECOM treat this? I don’t know if they understand this is not a simple matter and it begs a lot of questions. If GECOM is allowing them to pull out now, then GECOM is complicit. They say they can’t make adjustments in PPP areas, but they can for the AFC? And then again if GECOM has not accepted this, then this is all a farce,” he added.DebatesThe Party’s General Secretary criticised the AFC for now coming up with the idea of hosting a debate. Jagdeo said the call by the AFC is nothing more than a “sham”, since he believes the party currently has nothing else going for it as LGE approaches.“Imagine these people shut down debates in Parliament, they rush through bills, they refuse to answer questions and we have a long list of questions in Parliament that they refuse to give answers to… And now he (Patterson) wants debates here. But I think it is just another sham, because they have nothing else going for them,” he declared.Patterson also announced his support for the hosting of public debates among constituency candidates vying for positions within their Local Government organisations. He expressed his Party’s willingness to participate in any such event as the time draws closer for the LGE.“We do feel there should be a debate among candidates, particularly, in the larger constituencies and municipalities, like persons in the constituencies in Georgetown, Linden, Bartica, New Amsterdam, Rose Hall, should have a public debate…on policies and positions,” he said Wednesday.However, Patterson says the AFC will not seek to organise any such debates itself, as it may be viewed as a strategy to dominate. Nevertheless, the party said it is willing to participate in any event organised by any civil society group or organisation in Guyana.The party’s campaign manager was clear, however, as to the conditions under which AFC candidates will participate. He said the party would prefer having these debates hosted in the larger constituencies, rather than smaller ones spread across the country.The PPP General Secretary also lashed out at the AFC for using “Fit and proper” as its campaign slogan. Jagdeo referred to the origin of those words which were used by President David Granger to describe GECOM Commissioner James Patterson, although there were concerns.The PPP has since challenged the President’s unilateral appointment. Jagdeo said the AFC appears to be laughing at all of Guyana, with its adoption of the term as its political campaign. He also accused the President of abusing State resources to campaign for his party at the LGE.