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PNCR used youths as “props” but very few elected to Central Executive – Jagdeo

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo.

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday accused the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) of again using youths as tokens at their just concluded Biennial Delegates Congress because the majority of the executive has been stacked with old people.

Jagdeo also observed that Volda Lawrence was elected Chairperson of her political party without a commanding majority of the just over 800 delegates who cast ballots in last Sunday’s internal elections. “What I do know is that not a single one of the three persons who contested commanded a majority of the delegates and that’s an extremely weak position to be in and to move forward in,” he said.

Jagdeo noted that Lawrence garnered 42 percent, Joseph Harmon 35 percent and Basil Williams about 22 percent.  “If you calculate what Volda got on the basis of the attendance of the delegates, her votes, then it’s under 35 percent of the delegates who attended the Congress voted for Volda Lawrence so that’s an extremely weak position to be in as a leader or the Chairman of your party,” he said.

Speaking at a news conference, the PPP General Secretary charged that youths were used as “props” in the run-up to the PNCR’s elections and then they were abandoned in the polling booths in favour of much older persons.

In terms of young people, only 38-year old Christopher Jones and 2nd Vice Chairperson, 40-year old Annette Ferguson and 37-year old Thandi Mc Allister were elected to sit on their party’s Central Executive. The others are in their 50s and 60s.

Comparing the PNCR to his PPP, Jagdeo said his party not only campaigns on the theme of youths but many young people have been elected to the Central Committee. “The outcome of their elections and the Central Committee now…we looked through the names and the majority of the people there, overwhelming majority, are people over 60 years and so once again, within the party and elsewhere, young people were just used as props,” said Jagdeo, a former President. He boasted that the PPP government included many youths, young attendees at its congress, elected to the central and executive committees.

Lawrence and Harmon specifically had targeted youths in their countrywide campaigns to party faithful. “I saw young people being used again as props- nice photo opportunities with young people- we saw that before 2015; a lot of young people in all these wonderful ads that they had…then the young people suddenly disappeared from the scene and they reappeared when there was a need for them to change their image so all of the candidates started taking pictures with young people again.