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Norton justifies PNCR Treasurer signing blank cheques, denies receiving complaint of racism

Last Updated on Thursday, 5 January 2023, 14:57 by Denis Chabrol

Faaiz Mursalene

Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Aubrey Norton on Thursday admitted that the then Treasurer of that party Faaiz Mursaline had signed blank cheques but said the amounts had been included, along with supporting documents, when the second person signed.

“It is true that the treasurer signed blank cheques as one of two signatories,” Mr Norton said.

In this case, Mr Norton and then General Secretary Geeta Chandan-Edmond were also signatories but she subsequently resigned from that top party post.

Mr Norton explained that due to the fact that Mr Mursalene lives in Corriverton Berbice and is not in Georgetown everyday, he had signed blank cheques whenever he was in the City. The party leader said the provision of supporting documents afterwards when the second signature was being affixed is in keeping with proper accounting standards. “On his arrival at Congress Place, he would ask if there are cheques to be signed; that having signed those cheques, when the final signatory will sign, this is done with the accompanying paperwork  in keeping with good financial practices so it is not true to say that there is no paperwork,” he said.

Mr Norton confirmed that Mr Mursaline recommended that Ms Volda Lawrence audit the PNCR’s accounts in a letter dated August 18, 2022. He said the records also show that Mr Mursaline was sent a reply on August 22, 2022 stating that the PNCR’s constitution states that the General Council shall appoint an auditor at the first general Council meeting after the Biennial Congress and that it may be a conflict of interest to appoint a member of the party leadership as an auditor.

Concerning Mr Mursaline’s claim that he made proposals for the PNCR to raise funds, the PNCR Leader said he never received such material.

No racism complaint received
Mr Norton also denied the former PNCR Treasurer’s accusation that the party leader did nothing to address a complaint of racial hostility by a party member. “The Treasurer has never raised with me the issue of racism in the party,” he said. He noted that Mr Mursaline never accused him of racism and if he had raised such an issue “I would have addressed it.”

Mr Norton said no action would be taken against Mr Mursaline for the statement he issued to fellow Central Executive Committee members.

The PNCR Leader defended his decision to pick Mr Mursaline to be part of his team for the last congressional elections although he had praised the return of the People’s Progressive Party to government in 2020 as one that would have ended racism and seen the reemployment of thousands of retrenched sugar workers. Mr Norton described the former Treasurer as someone who is “young and has potential.”

Mr Norton said he had spoken with Mr Mursaline about his pro-PPP comments which had had been made in  a particular context. He noted that the former Treasurer had “reaffirmed his commitment” to the PNCR.  “On that basis, I thought it was a good opportunity to promote a young person,” he said.  Mr Mursaline had campaigned for the PNCR for the 2018 Local Government Elections and the 2020 general and regional elections.

Mr Mursaline had denied that he was planted by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) in the PPP. He had said that he made anti-PNC/AFC statements on Facebook because he had been disappointed about being sidelined from becoming the youngest parliamentarian, at 18 years old, after the 2020 general elections.

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January 2023