Last Updated on Friday, 30 June 2023, 14:59 by Denis Chabrol
The People’s National Congress Reform’s (PNCR) Central Executive Committee (CEC) does not have to approve who will become mayors and councillors in the towns being controlled by A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), party Chairman Shurwayne Holder.
“The Central Exec sets the policy position and then we can act. It doesn’t go that the Central Exec must be to that technical point of selecting the actual person so in this case, so far, they would not have been involved in the actual picking of the Mayor,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.
Mr Holder said a “fair process” made up of an independent panel was established and interviewed prospective interested candidates for the posts of Mayors and Deputy Mayors. “The leadership has the scope to act to do certain things in which they have the authority in between Central Exec meetings and General Council and so anything that the leadership does, we still carry it to CC once we know this is the policy, this is the position we act,” he said. The PNCR-controlled APNU regained the majority of seats on the councils of Georgetown, Linden and New Amsterdam in the June 12, 2023 Local Government Elections.
Asked if the independent panel was provided for in the constitution, he said there was provision for committees and others outside to carry out certain functions. He declined to disclose the member of the panel
Mr Holder made it clear that the PNCR’s constitution does not require the Central Executive to approve the holders of those positions on the councils but opted to have the panel to ensure that the recommendation was independent of the leadership. “Of course, the party has the final stay but we wanted it to be a fair process, no bias and come from professionals and so persons were allowed to subject themselves to those interviews and recommendations were made,” the PNCR Chairman added.
Attorney-at-Law Gary Best, who is a CEC member, on June 28, 2023 stated in internal correspondence that PNCR Leader Aubrey Norton was told last Wednesday, in reference to their party’s constitution, that “he cannot proceed to conclude decisions re appointment of councillors and mayors without the intervention and approval of the CEC.” A number of the councillors are elected directly through first-past-the post and the remainder are handpicked from a list of proportional representation candidates.
Mr Best said last Wednesday’s advice should have been “cause for pause” to ensure compliance with his party’s constitution. “It, therefore, means that the CEC has not approved the process initiated by the Leader in naming the Councillors and Mayors. The next thing is for this matter to come before the CEC for a full deliberation and decision,” he said.
The PNCR’s constituti0n states that the leader is responsible for the general political direction of the party between congresses and exercises the rights and fulfills all the duties and obligations of the CEC between meetings of that committee and may take any action in keeping with the general policy of the party.
Notably, the PNCR’s General Council- which is the governing body of the party between biennial delegates congresses- includes all Chairmen, Vic Chairmen of Local Democratic Organs, Mayors an Deputy Mayors who were elected to office on the Party’s list of candidates.
The PNCR’s General Council has not been held for almost one year now.