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Private Sector Commission not independent- PNCR Leader

Last Updated on Monday, 20 December 2021, 15:34 by Denis Chabrol

Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Aubrey Norton on Monday said his party is pro-private sector but he said from many accounts the Private Sector Commission (PSC) as politically biased.

He sought to assure Guyanese that his party is pro-business but said he has been asked by business persons to draw a distinction between the private sector and the Private Sector Commission (PSC) as they believed that that organisation does not operate in their interest but is politically partisan. “As a party, we will struggle for a private sector that is genuinely a private sector and not a Commission that reflects narrow interests,” said Mr. Norton, a Political Scientist.

The PNCR Leader indicated that his party wanted to see a PSC that is independent. “I want it to be made clear ; we are not anti-private sector. In fact, we believe the private sector should act as civil society, independent pursuing the interest of the private sector,” he said.

According to him, the PSC a lot of times does not project itself as independent which raises the need for a business organisation that reflects all ethnicities and all businesses.

Asked whether the PNCR, in its interface with non-governmental and civil society organisations, intended to meet with the PSC, he said his party would meet with that business organisation. “I will meet with the PSC but when I meet with the PSC, we will discuss the situation and see where we go from there. I believe a political party should be in contact with all civil society,” he said.

The PSC’ structure includes sub-committees on security and governance.

The PSC  and a number of its affiliates had criticised the declaration process for votes cast in Region Four, and had called for then Chief Election Officer Keith Lowenfield, Deputy Chief Election Officer Roxanne Myers and Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo to be removed as they had been charged with a number of offences related to electoral fraud.

The PNCR-led coalition of A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) had in April, 2020 labelled the PSC a PPP “stooge” as the business body had not acknowledged that there had been discrepancies in regions other than Region Four.

Mr. Norton had previously questioned the independence of a number of private sector and non-governmental players  who had been nominated by then Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo to be appointed Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). Among them was Captain Gerry Gouveia who has since been appointed National Security Advisor.