Harmon suggests that street protests not necessarily best option

Last Updated on Saturday, 18 December 2021, 7:29 by Denis Chabrol

Aspiring leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Joseph Harmon on Friday night indicated that he did not altogether support street protests in confronting the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) administration, but preferred to negotiate with opponents.

“This is the monster that we have to confront and you have to be able to confront that with not just walking up and down the road but with strategic thinking and a way in which you can get results,” he told a virtual town hall meeting ahead of Saturday’s vote for the position of leader and the 15-member central executive.

His archrival, Aubrey Norton, has repeatedly stated that he does not care who calls him a radical. He has warned of strident action under his leadership to demand a new voters’ list and other electoral reforms.

Mr. Harmon took credit for spearheading negotiations between the PNCR and the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) which at one time had threatened to oust the then Forbes Burnham-led dictatorship in the 1980s by any means necessary through a civil rebellion. “You must be able to sit across a table with someone who tells you straight to your face ‘I don’t like you’ but you must be able to work with that person in the public interest and for the good of Guyana. I can tell you, comrades, I have done that; I’ve been doing it all  the time since 2010 up to now. I face people who don’t like the PNC. I was able to work on a manifesto, when the APNU was formed, with parties that were sworn enemies of the PNC and they say they’re going to kill the Kabaka, they’re going to kill King Kong,” he said.

Urging party faithful to  bank on “tried, tested and proven leadership”, Mr. Harmon said that approach had moved the PNCR from the opposition into government in 2015.

No mention was made of the fact that the WPA had made numerous complaints that the PNCR had treated its coalition partners badly and that APNU of which Mr. Harmon is the General Secretary had hardly ever met. After the 2020 elections, the WPA and JFAP left APNU. During the campaign for the PNCR leadership, Messrs. Norton and Dr. Richard Vanwest Charles had stated that they would seek to once again cement ties with WPA.

Mr. Harmon on Friday also denied that his campaign was being financed by the PPP.

All of the candidates have committed themselves to party unity after Saturday’s election that will mark the culmination of what is the most heated campaign for party leadership.