Last Updated on Monday, 21 June 2021, 17:35 by Denis Chabrol
The People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) does not have to first approve whether other parties should join the umbrella A Partnership for National Unity (APNU+AFC), amid rumblings in the Executive Committee for stay in the entrance of two small unknown parties.
“The PNC Executive doesn’t have to consider it. The APNU Executive has to consider it. PNC can either vote for or against,” PNCR General Secretary Amna Ally told Demerara Waves Online News/ News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM.
She explained that it was APNU’s Council that approved the entrance of the Guyana Nation Builders Movement (GNBM) and the Equal Rights and Justice Party (ERJP). Ms. Ally said APNU was guided by certain principles and no single party could make a decision “whether you are big or small.”
However, senior PNCR insiders said the issue was not discussed by that party’s Executive Committee before an announcement was made on June 12 that the GNBM and ERJP had joined APNU. However, when it was raised it was rejected. “It was raised at the last Central Exec and a number of us categorically indicated that it is not a position that we are going to support because it was never discussed because it was never discussed by the Central Exec and, in the stream of things, the parties should have been launched nationally before ever being considered and it was launched nationally, nobody knows about them, nobody has any information about them except Granger and these two former ministers,” the source said. The PNCR official said her party, which is the major partner in APNU, accepted the two parties although they have no support base.
Sources said efforts would continue to put pressure on the PNCR to put a stay on the GNBM and ERJP’s joining APNU.
She said the PNCR is entitled to two votes on APNU’s Council, but when the matter came up PNCR Chairman Volda Lawrence was absent and so she (Ally) voted in favour. “We voted on it. There were five people voting for their acceptance and zero for rejecting. Nobody rejected. Everybody accepted and, therefore, they have membership of APNU,” she said.
Asked to respond to claims that the GNBM and ERJP were “shell” parties because they have no constituency and could not even be compared to the Working People’s Alliance and the Justice For All Party that have since parted company with the PNCR, Ms. Ally pointed out that a number of parties had mushroomed ahead of the March 2020. “Why they don’t go and compare all those parties that joined to support the PPP…all those parties; why they don’t go and question that? God Damnit!,” she said.
The PNCR General Secretary would not be drawn into a comment on whether the GNBM and the ERJP would be required to bring in at least 7,000 votes each to guarantee them seats in the National Assembly after the next general elections constitutionally due the latest by 2025.
Ms. Ally, instead, echoed the views of PNCR Leader and APNU Chairman, David Granger that those two small parties are “going to be going out there and getting people to follow them.’
The PNCR General Secretary said she was not fearful that they would chip away at the PNCR’s stronghold. “I don’t care where they go. The PNC is a stronghold base and will stay as a stronghold base,” she said.
The National Front Alliance and Justice For All Party were not given parliamentary seats after the March 2020 general elections because Mr. Granger did not believe that they had won 7,000 votes each to justify doing so. He is the Representative of the List of Candidates for APNU+Alliance For Change and can decide who represents that coalition in the opposition parliamentary benches.