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Executive member of A New and United Guyana resigns over failure to hold elections, suspend former GUYOIL Board member

Last Updated on Monday, 24 May 2021, 20:57 by Denis Chabrol

Jonathan Yearwood

Mr. Jonathan Yearwood on Monday resigned from the executive member of A New and United Guyana (ANUG) over the failure of his party to hold long overdue internal elections.

Mr.  Yearwood says also that he has resigned because of the ANUG executive has refused to suspend Akanni Blair from the executive because he is embroiled in a fuel purchase controversy while serving as a board member of the state-owned Guyana Oil Company (GUYOIL).

“I fought for democracy in this country. I fought the 2020 general elections based on democracy and I an not seeing that willingness for democracy within ANUG’s executive at this point in time and secondly we fought along anti-corruption lines and the mere fact that we have an executive on board, who has been dismissed from a position as a member of a board of GUYOIL that should be an anti-corruption stance to have him removed or sit back from the ANUG executive until the investigation is complete,” he said.

Mr. Yearwood said he was the lone vocal executive member on these issues,  an indication that there was a great reluctance by the rest of the executive to face the polls.  The current executive was elected on April 28, 2019  for one year, but  he admitted that the internal polls had been postponed due to the fiasco over the March 2020 general and regional elections.

After the winner of Guyana’s presidential and parliamentary elections was declared  in August, 2020, Mr. Yearwood said he had been trying desperately for his party to elect new office bearers. “I have made several efforts to do it and that has not worked out so well,” he said.  Mr. Yearwood said he was aware of a major reason for not wanting to face ANUG’s polls but he declined to say what it was.

Mr. Yearwood said “they just don’t want to have an election” although he had been working feverishly since last year September to hold the elections; his latest effort having been two weeks ago when he had almost finalised arrangements for a returning officer.

Mr. Yearwood, who was the Treasurer up to the time of his resignation, is still a member of ANUG and he vowed “to hold their feet to the fire.” He said the rest of the executive does not believe that Mr. Blair has committed a wrong and the government was “just going through the motions.”

President Irfaan Ali has ordered Mr. Blair’s removal from the board of directors of GUYOIL citing inappropriate behaviour.

But ANUG Founding member, Attorney-at-Law Ralph Ramkarran said he was taken aback at Mr. Yearwood’s decision to exit the executive. “I am very surprised and shocked and distressed  at this information… I am very sorry to lose him from the executive because he is a livewire. He is a very important and resourceful person and has been of great assistance in the conduct of the work and the business,” he said. Mr. Ramkarran said Mr. Yearwood’s  immediate resignation comes at a time when plans were advancing for the internal elections to be held virtually.

Mr. Ramkarran credited Mr. Yearwood for being a driving force for making arrangements for the internal polls. He said a number of other executive members had taken the position that nothing has been proven against Mr. Blair and that the party should await the outcome of the Auditor General’s investigation.

Mr. Ramkarran indicated that the elections would suffer a further setback because Mr. Yearwood was the main planner.

The ANUG co-founder disagreed with calls for Mr. Blair to step down or suspended especially since elections were imminent.

Mr. Ramkarran cited the prolonged general and regional elections and subsequently the COVID-19 pandemic as the two major reasons for the delay in the polls to elect a new executive. He said ANUG’s internal elections would be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.