People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) supporters in Region 10 have decided to put their concerns aside about the exclusion of several persons from being opposition coalition’s candidates for next month’s general elections, according to sources.
The sources said a meeting slated for Saturday under the chairmanship of regional campaign coordinator, Sharma Solomon is expected to arrive at a consensus that the larger objective is to get out supporters to vote.
“We decided that we would put that to rest and move on to win the election. MP (parliamentarian) is not the only position that will be available when the coalition wins; there will be thousands of other positions,” one of the sources told Demerara Waves Online News.
The sources confirmed that they are signatories to an April 8, 2015 letter to Representative of the List, Professor Harold Lutchman and PNCR Leader David Granger, that expresses concern that an agreed process for the selection of candidates was violated.
But Co-Chairman of the coalition’s campaign, Joseph Harmon said the candidates submitted by Region 10 were not the only ones that were changed in keeping with the required numbers, ethnic balance , gender balance, geographical representation, age and expertise.
“There is a requirement for candidates to be recommended by the regions but that does not mean because you recommend that there is a right to have that recommendation become the rule because all regions will recommend people but at the level of the centre you have to basically make the selection based on a number of criteria,” Harmon told Demerara Waves Online News.
“Apart from what the regions send up, there are still some other requirements, which at a national level, you have to satisfy and there is no region that would have sent up a list f names that would have gotten all of their candidates on it,” he added.
Harmon said he did not see the letter that was sent by e-mail to the PNCR’s executive members. He hoped to read the email and address the concerns as part of efforts to secure victory on May 11, 2015. “It is in our interest to ensure that all of our regions are working hard to ensure that we get this victory and it is not in our interest to have any of our regions in any level of dissatisfaction which will take away from that energy which we need,” said Harmon who is also A Partnership for National Unity’s (APNU) General Secretary.
In a pre-election pact called the Cummingsburg Accord, APNU agreed that 12 of the parliamentary seats would go to the Alliance For Change (AFC) win or lose.
The Region 10 PNCR members recalled that that agreement was enshrined in a motion that was approved by that party’s General Council on January 31, 2015. “Be it further resolved that Regional and Parliamentary candidates who are representatives of the people in the Region and the Party Leader advocates for empowerment of the people and their communities, the Region identify its candidates and determine its representatives on the Regional Democratic Council and in the National Assembly,” he said. That motion was moved and seconded by Maurice Butters and Leslie Gonsalves who are among the 47 signatories to the letter.
The party supporters were aggrieved that despite their best efforts at identifying the candidates that ought to be under the banner of APNU, which includes the PNCR, those persons were not included. “The names on the list were arrived at through a process of engagement with the party groups and fan out in the region. On Nomination Day we found out that the persons who were identified by the communities were not on the List, ” they said.
APNU and the AFC have teamed up in a pre-election coalition in the hope of defeating the incumbent People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) for the first time in 23 years.