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No rigging, no padding at PNCR elections- Granger

Left to Right: PNCR Leader, David Granger; Party Chairman, Basil Williams; Vice Chairmen, Volda Lawrence and George Norton as well as Treasurer, Ronald Bulkan.

Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), David Granger Sunday evening denied that the elections machinery facilitated rigging and padding of the delegates list to sweep him back at the helm of the party.

 “These things are not true” he told a news conference at the end of the three-day 18th biennial congress that was marred by allegations by Aubrey Norton and Sharma Solomon that the system was “flawed”.

They refused to participate in the elections, resulting in Granger and Basil Williams retaining their offices as leader and Chairman respectively.

Granger countered their charges that delegates’ names were taken off the list, saying that evidence had emerged that a large number of persons from “one particular region” were taken to Congress Place but their names were not on the list that was agreed and approved on Saturday night. “If there was any discrepancy, it meant that somebody was trying to flood the list when persons were not qualified to enter as observers and delegates,” he said.

Denying that the electoral system was flawed, the PNCR leader said there were no grounds for his resignation or the holding of fresh elections.  “We are not prepared to go back unless there is some evidence of wrongdoing and there has been no evidence of wrongdoing,” he said.

The party leader stressed that General Secretary, Oscar Clarke met numerous times with Norton and Solomon and “tried very hard” to iron out their grievances.

Although the last three congresses of the PNCR have enveloped in bitter disputes over electoral irregularities and the subsequent departure of several top and influential functionaries, Granger rejected suggestions that the party was deeply divided. “The party is not more divided than it has ever been. There is evidence, off course, that certain elements behaved in a certain way… But those elements do not represent a majority of the party to create such a massive division,” he said.

Among those who have parted ways with the PNCR or taken a back seat due to electoral and other concerns are Raphael Trotman, James Mc Allister, Vincent Alexander, Stanley Ming, Clarissa Riehl, Richard Vanwest Charles, Desmond Fernandes, Mervyn Williams and Sherwood Lowe.

“I am not suggesting that it is good to have a division but it wouldn’t harm the party in a serious way,” Granger added. Asked if he would reach out to Norton and others, Granger said the party has the mechanisms to involve members.

Member of the Accreditation Committee, Volda Lawrenced admitted that there was only once face-to-face committee meeting, which was held on Saturday, but said other meetings were held via email and telephone.