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PNCR Central Executive dismisses motion to remove Harmon; plans underway to get an MP to resign

Last Updated on Monday, 31 January 2022, 9:07 by Writer

The People’s National Congress Reform’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) on Sunday, by a majority, refused to consider a motion for the removal of Mr. Joseph Harmon from the National Assembly to make way for party leader Aubrey Norton to become Guyana’s Opposition Leader, despite a stout official denial by that party.

The sources said 31 of the 35 CEC members spoke about the motion, while the others remained silent, and in the end they decided not to act on the document that originated from a PNCR group in West Coast Berbice.

Demerara Waves/News-Talk Radio Guyana was informed that the motion, which had originally contained four names, was subsequently amended to focus on only one person.

The PNCR, however, in an official statement referred to a “list of MPs” and “four of its MPs” in describing media reports to that effect as a “total fabrication.” “No such motion has been submitted by Region #5 and no such motion has been discussed at the Party’s Central Executive Committee meeting on Sunday, January 30, 2022,” that party said.

The sources said that the PNCR Leader would this week hold discussions with nine PNCR-aligned parliamentarians of the opposition coalition of A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) to convince at least one of them to resign to make way for him to be formally picked to become a parliamentarian and then go on to be elected by a majority of the opposition parliamentarians as Opposition Leader. Except for Mr. Harmon, who has not resigned as a parliamentarian although he has stepped down as Opposition Leader and APNU General Secretary, the other eight APNU parliamentarians who are drawn from the top-up list, are Geeta Chandan-Edmond, Karen Cummings, Annette Ferguson, Roysdale Forde, Joseph Harmon, Dawn Hastings-Williams, Nicolette Henry, Christopher Jones and Coretta McDonald.

Mr. Norton is among the 86 candidates on the top-up list.

Once Mr. Norton gets one of those parliamentarians to resign, the sources said Representative of the List of APNU+AFC candidate David Granger would be asked to replace that person with the PNCR Leader. The AFC has so far committed to facilitate Mr. Norton’s entrance to the National Assembly.

The Representation of the People Act, however, provides for a majority of the candidates to select someone else to carry out the functions if either the Representative of the List or Deputy Representative of the List refuses to act.

The PNCR’s Central Executive Committee weeks ago decided that Mr. Norton—who was elected at what supporters and detractors alike said was the most transparent internal party election in recent times—should become Opposition Leader.

Meanwhile, the PNCR hopes that this imbroglio could be resolved before parliamentary debate on the 2020 National Budget ends on Friday or early next week as conventionally, the Opposition Leader is the penultimate speaker.

Expected to kick off the budget debate for APNU+AFC on Monday is Attorney-at-Law, Amanza Walton-Desir.