James Bond, who campaigned on a youth platform and mustered 148 votes at the People’s National Congress Reform’s (PNCR) 19th Biennial Congress, Sunday downplayed his low three-digit showing and said he was not anxious to sit on the Central Executive of his party.
“The work is not Central Exec for me right now. The work is in the fields so my focus-after seeing what the delegates did, after seeing the work we have to do- it’s not on Central Executive., it’s on the work out there.
“No Sir! Absolutely not, Sir,” said Bond when asked whether he would be disappointed if he does not get a seat on the third highest decision-making body of the PNCR.
And party leader, David Granger acknowledged that Bond’s electoral performance reflected strength but suggested that Bond’s entry on the Central Executive appears not to be automatic. Asked whether Bond’s performance entitles him to a seat on the Central Executive, the President said “we have to see the numbers. We are waiting for the numbers.”
Official results show that Granger, Basil Williams and Ronald Bulkan were elected unopposed to the positions of leader, chairman and treasurer respectively. Volda Lawrence was elected Chairman with 393 votes, and George Norton as Vice Chairman with 227 votes. Clement Corlette, a former Region Four Chairman, got eight.
Mr Bond’s performance, I would say it is is substantial but the other contestants were ahead of him but it does not indicate any weakness on the part of the youth. In fact, from the numbers, as you can see, it was a strength,” said Granger, who is also Guyana’s President.
Bond downplayed observations that he came number three behind seasoned campaigners, Volda Lawrence and George Norton. Bond said his 148 votes representing 1,480 members out of a total of 455 eligible voters indicates that there is growing change in the PNCR’s posture towards young people taking over the mantle of leadership in that almost 60-year old party at the highest level.
“A casual observer would look and see the dynamics are changing. People were saying the young people did not have sufficient representation within the party…I think we did extremely well. We did better than many expected and I think we set the platform,” he told reporters.
Bond remarked that the Guyana Youth and Student Movement (GYSM) brought a mere 17 delegates, something he hopes to improve on. He said his votes. Bond shrugged off suggestions that he contested the polls to win but was defeated. “I never saw myself as running against anyone or competing against anyone…I was just putting myself out there for service.
The idea is not to win an election here. If I wanted to win, I would be throwing remarks out there at my colleagues and saying I was better able and better equipped and they were not,” he said
He thought that is supporters voted for growth of the party membership and diversification of revenue sources. “We just can’t be depending on donations and rent,” he said. He hopes that with increasing youth members, the PNCR can lead the way in widening the coalition’s lead against the opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) by at least five to 10 seats. Currently, the PNCR-dominated coalition has a one-seat majority in the 65-seat National Assembly. “We feel that if we if get more of the young voters on aboard with the PNCR we will have a greater say,” he said.
The President described the Congress as “highly successful” and free from complaints of registration and documentation, in apparent reference to the 18th Congress when a man discharged a single round during a commotion at the time of voting.
In the past, there had been concerns that delegates had not been on the list or had been declared ineligible to vote.