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Stop haggling over chairmanship of PNCR or party will lose 2020 elections- Volda Lawrence

FLASH BACK: Volda Lawrence (centre) flanked by Joseph Harmon (left) and Amna Ally. Behind Ms Ally is Basil Williams.

Chairwoman of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Volda Lawrence has called for an end to in-fighting in her party over its chairmanship and instead get down to hard work to secure victory at the 2020 general and regional elections.

“You see all this nonsense what going on about Harmon and Volda and Basil…All of we gon deh outside a government if you continue to be stupid. This not about me and Comrade Volda and Comrade Basil Williams. This thing is about us remaining in power,” she said in an address to the Region Four District Conference of her party held at Congress Place.

Lawrence, who was recently elected as Chairwoman of the PNCR in a keenly contested election between herself and Joseph Harmon, promised that she would do what it takes to work with him and  two-time Chairman, Basil Williams who also lost to her. Williams had said that he had joined the race to keep Harmon out.

“Stop this nonsense. It will take us no where. They are my comrades. I am their comrade. Let us stop this stupidness,” she said. “It means that from now till then, you can’t be vexed about who did not run, who did lose and who supposed to lead,” she said in apparent reference to the PNCR’s congressional elections.

In hammering home the point that “no person or personality can supersede the objective” of the PNCR to remain in power, she urged the party faithful not to become disillusioned. Lawrence chided those who are responsible for not awarding cleansing contracts to PNCR members or hiring PNCR members as if they were still in opposition and afraid of doing so. She made it clear that her priority is to give jobs to her friends who are evidently party supporters. “The only friends I got is PNC so the only people I gon give wuk to is PNC and right now I looking for a doctor who can talk Spanish or Portuguese and ah want one that is PNC,” said Lawrence who is also Minister of Public Health.

The PNCR Chairwoman also rebuked those who vent their dissatisfaction with not benefiting from the government by “going on Facebook and cursing out people”. “Comrades, it ain’t gon change nothing,” she said.

Plans to improve communication between the government and decision-makers, she said, would include an Action Line-formatted call-in programme titled “Coalition In Action” and a Smartphone App to which concerns could be sent directly to ministers and herself for action. Lawrence vowed to confront other ministers at Cabinet about unresolved issues.

The PNCR’s priorities, she said, must include winning 80 percent of the electorate in Region Four, a target she said that must be achieved through outreaches between now and December 2019. “The first thing we have to do is to commit ourselves to winning the 2020 election,” she said. Among those on Lawrence’s radar are Guyanese who have become disenchanted and stayed away from the November 12, 2018 Local Government Elections. She conceded that poor service-delivery by elected leaders had affected the turnout by supporters to the polls. “We all heard the complaints and who didn’t come back when they were elected, didn’t fix the lights or water,” she said. Lawrence advised PNCR community leaders and activists to  be bold in calling on their leaders and saying to them and they are not doing what they are supposed to do. “You have to be mobilised and make your presence felt and do not leave all the work to Georgetown,” she added.

The PNCR Chairwoman has also signaled that her party would be taking steps to take back the seats won by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) in Georgetown, East Coast Demerara and West Demerara.

Among the achievements she credited her party in government with include no massacres, reduction in other crimes, improved roads, increased old age pensions, public assistance and salaries as well as the decentralisation of a number of government services such as the application and processing of birth certificates and passports, school-feeding and school transportation. She said party supporters must emphasise the achievements instead of the negatives. “There are enough positives because we have positives. We have to sell it,” she said.