PNCR non-committal about AFC support for Norton to emerge as opposition leader

Last Updated on Friday, 28 January 2022, 20:04 by Writer

The People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) stayed clear of saying whether it believed it could secure the Alliance For Change’s (AFC) support to back PNCR Leader Aubrey Norton to enter the National Assembly and be elected opposition leader.

Ahead of a meeting Friday afternoon with the AFC on parliamentary matters, PNCR General Secretary Geeta Chandan-Edmond declined to commit herself when asked whether she was confident that the AFC would support the eventual emergence of Mr. Norton as opposition leader.

Mr. Joseph Harmon earlier this week resigned from that constitutional post, but he remains a parliamentarian.

If the current Representative of the List, David Granger or the Deputy Representative of the List, Khemraj Ramjattan, is unwilling to act, the Representation of the People Act provides for “a majority of the persons named as candidates in the list [who] may designate in writing any such person able and willing to act.” Asked if that was being considered as an option, Ms Chandan-Edmond said “all options are being considered.” Pressed on whether she believed that the PNCR could secure the support from its other coalition partners, she again stated, “we will continue to explore all possible options. Maybe by this afternoon, we’ll have a statement out for you.”

That person could then recall any Parliamentarian and replace him or her, in this case Mr. Harmon and Mr. Norton respectively.

Guyana’s Constitution will them kick-in for a new opposition leader to be elected by and among the non-governmental parliamentarians at a meeting to be chaired by the Speaker of the National Assembly.

Ms. Chandan-Edmond hoped that the issue surrounding a new opposition leader could be resolved before the start of debate on the 2022 National Budget debate next week Monday, and PNCR Chairman Shurwayne Holder said that the opposition would continue to work with opposition Chief Whip Christopher Jones until the issue is resolved.

The PNCR said it was continuing to engage with Mr. Harmon even as it continued its talks with other opposition constituent parties such as the National Front Alliance and the Guyana Action Party.