A Partnership for National Unity on Wednesday withdrew support from one of its candidates who has been implicated in sexual molestation in recent times, less than three days before Guyanese are due to vote in long-awaited Local Government Elections.
”In light of the alleged behavior of Mr. Winston Harding and the pattern of accusations over the years, his candidature cannot be supported at this time,” APNU said in a statement.
The decision by APNU came less than one day after the privately-owned Stabroek News newspaper reported that Harding’s candidature has been rejected by persons in his constituency- number 13 (East and West Ruimveldt)!. His campaign posters have been defaced and covered by others that describe him as a child molester.
Top officials of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR)- the largest party in APNU- had acknowledged the seriousness of the allegations swirling around Harding while at the same time said he had not been found guilty.
While APNU reiterated that Harding has not been convicted, that segment of the governing coalition emphasised that it would never take lightly allegations of the abuse of women, children and the elderly and so it takes seriously all allegations of abuse that are made against members and supporters.
“APNU is cognizant of the fact that Mr. Harding has not been convicted of any offence, but the gravity and nature of the accusations cannot be ignored or condoned,” that segment of the governing coalition said in its statement.
APNU said ’the accusations of child molestation as reported in the media are a matter of grave concern.” That Coalition partner also used the opportunity to “state and affirm” that the Domestic Violence Act and the Sexual Offences Act must at all times be enforced without compromise.
Other APNU members are the Working People’s Alliance, National Front Alliance, Guyana Action Party and The United Force.