As the countdown the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) heads into its congress this weekend, a party committee from Linden believes that moves are afoot to cut back the number of eligible delegates.
Spokesman for the PNCR’s Region 10 committee, Leslie Gonsalves said talks were underway to prevent his region from losing about 30 of the more than 90 delegates. Other sources put the number of delegates as high as 112. He said if efforts were unsuccessful, the chances of challenging incumbent leader David Granger and other office holders could be weakened.
“The motive is simple: If you are reducing a group in terms of its delegates…it’s obvious you are saying to yourself well ‘ if you allow them to have ninety they will have their way in terms of whether it’s the leadership or chairmanship of the party’ so we are saying they are calling the shots because they don’t want to be ruled out of here,” he said. However, a source close to the PNCR’s Headquarters said Gonsalves is not a party member.
He explained that places like Silvertown and Industrial Area have been absorbed into existing groups but PNCR Region 10 Coordinator, Sandra Adams has been allegedly “going around and establishing groups in these areas.”
Maurice Butters accused Adams of extracting names from the existing list of delegates and “setting it up in such a way as if new groups are being formed.” “What they are doing is trying to divide the delegates that we have,” she said. He was confident that the delegate strength would not be weakened.
The Linden Region 10 Group is largely supporting Former General Secretary, Aubrey Norton and his slate to succeed Granger.
At the Congress, every 10 members from each party group is represented by a delegate. Candidates for general and regional elections are also automatically candidates for the PNCR’s Congress.
Region 10 Chairman, Sharma Solomon said the number of party members in Region 10 has grown because of hard moibilisation of persons who had become disgruntled or disinterested. Those persons, he said, could now determine the outcome of the congress. “If that is the case, Region 10 is likely to shape the ouctome of the Congress,” he added.
The Linden PNCR Committee is also challenging the decision by the PNCR’s Central Executive Committee to appoint Adams against the desires of Region 10 members and supporters, likening it to government’s imposition of Town Clerk Carol Sooba on the citizenry of Georgetown.
Gonsalves said the PNCR’s Region 10 members were also peeved at the appointment of a five-member Disciplinary Committee to probe the circumstances surrounding an altercation involving party General Secretary, Oscar Clarke and Vanessa Kissoon of that region on June 20 at Congress Place.
Kissoon’s suspension by Granger and the Central Executive’s appointment of a Disciplinary Committee have raised concerns about the transparency of the process. “The persons that form the Disciplinary Committee, they are the ones who have instituted the charges and they would be the one who have imposed the penalties so we already see the bias here,” he said.
The Region 10 Group wants the Granger-appointed the Disciplinary Committee to be disbanded and a new committee appointed to ensure “fair-play and justice.” Latoya Williams of the National Congress of Women (NCW) questioned the motive behind suspending Kissoon and appointing “someone who just sat on their laurels (and) did absolutely nothing,”
The PNCR Leader has maintained that he was properly empowered to suspend Kissoon. She allegedly abused Clarke and several other PNCR members at Congress Place when he approached her asked for the keys to the party’s office in Region 10.