Last Updated on Monday, 7 August 2023, 14:35 by Denis Chabrol
One year on and the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), the major party in Guyana’s parliamentary opposition, is yet to hold a meeting of its second highest decision-making body, with much now depending on sufficient funds, according to well-placed sources.
PNCR Leader Aubrey Norton said a decision was taken when the General Council meeting would be held but he declined to provide the date, saying that was confidential party information. “That’s an internal matter of the party. I don’t have to say it in the public domain,” he said.
A source told Demerara Waves Online News that the PNCR’s Central Executive had decided that General Council would be held on August 13-14, but said that date now looked impossible because that political party could not afford an estimated GY$2.4 million to host the event.
“They don’t have the money,” the official said.
General Council meetings should be held once every quarter.
Mr Norton is on record as saying in June, 2023 that his party could not have contested the Local Government Elections in all of the Local Authority Areas partly because of insufficient donations.
The PNCR Leader said the Central Executive had determined when his party’s General Council meeting would be held but he did not know how that was a matter of public interest rather than a party matter.
Asked to rationalise his position in light of the fact that the PNCR is one of Guyana’s largest political parties that serves the public and the public’s interest, he doubled down on his stance. “We continue to serve the public’s interest but I don’t know telling everybody when will be our General Council will serve the public interest and how. In fact, I don’t even know why it has become a matter of any consequence at this,” he said.
Over the years, the PNCR had issued press statements indicating when General Council meetings would be held, issues discussed and major outcomes.
In late June, PNCR Central Executive Committee member, Amanza Walton had issued a formal internal appeal for a General Council meeting to be held within one month. “It is now almost one year since a General Council was last convened, effectively shutting off an important “pressure relief valve”. This lapse must be remedied in the shortest possible time. I propose that the General Secretary be directed to convene a meeting of the General Council within the next 30 days,” she said said.
PNCR Chairman, Shurwayne Holder had said that his party might have performed better at the Local Government Electi0ns if a General Council meeting had been held. “It probably would have been better if we had had the General Council but you have to learn from this and move forward,” he had said.