PNCR Leader plans to attempt uniting party again

Last Updated on Saturday, 13 April 2024, 14:55 by Writer

Left to right: Ganesh Mahipaul, Roysdale Forde and Aubrey Norton

Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Aubrey Norton said he had extended his hands to several persons who had opposed him for the top party position at internal elections, but they walked away from the opportunity to unify that 66-year old political organisation.

“I won by a landslide and I brought in all of them who ran against me…I can do that again, but let me say this to you: if people don’t want to cooperate, there ain’t much you can do,” he told a Town Hall meeting in Georgia on Thursday evening. Mr Norton was elected by a landslide at the PNCR’s Congress in December 2021, beating off Joseph Harmon and Dr Richard Van West Charles.

Mr Harmon, from all accounts, disappeared from the political limelight and Dr Van West Charles and Mr Norton fell out before the former eventually went on to be Guyana’s Ambassador to Venezuela under the incumbent People’s Progressive Party Civic administration.

According to Mr Norton, there was a small group of party members who was refusing to work together after they were defeated at the last Congress. “There are some people in the party who lost power at the last election who are determined that they have to get power or they will not cooperate; it’s a small group and so I don’t think it will affect the party overall,” he said.

The PNCR Leader said he and his young team were willing to work with anyone “in the interest of the party” but “you cannot coerce people into uniting.” He promised that after the PNCR elects its leadership at the next congress due before August 31, 2024 that “we’re going to reach out to them after this congress.”

Joseph Harmon and Aubrey Norton.

Already, Attorney-at-Law Roysdale Forde has declared his intention to vie for the position of PNCR leader. Though, Attorney-at-Law Amanza Walton-Desir has not officially declared her candidacy, indications are that she is also a likely contender. PNCR Chairman Shurwayne Holder and former General Secretary Amna Ally, regarded as a Harmonite, were in a public spat over the last few days after she publicly attacked the PNCR Leader.

In a rare interview with the government-controlled Guyana Chronicle newspaper, Ms Ally suggested that wanted to see Mr Norton’s back at the next Congress. “What Mr. Norton, the Opposition Leader, has to do is pull his socks up. Mr. Norton must work with the Constitution, and he must seek to unify the party rather than splitting hairs and having people go their own way. He is not fit to be a leader,” she was quoted as saying.

Mr Holder defended his party leader’s performance over the past two years for meeting with grassroots supporters and rebuilding the PNCR from the top. “How foolish can anyone be to say he is not fit to lead the PNCR when he has done and continues to do what is necessary for us to gain power in the next General Elections?,” he queried rhetorically. The PNCR Chairman credited the party’s leader with improving diplomatic relations. Mr Holder questioned where was Ms Ally over the past four years and challenged her to show how she had contributed to the PNCR’s development and the fight against the PPP. “While I respect her right to endorse whom ever she sees fit, I don’t believe Amna Ali has the moral authority to say who is unfit to lead the Party. Let me remind us all that it was under her watch as General Secretary and Chief Whip that Charrandass voted “yes” which led to the fall of the coalition government,” he said.

Ms Amna Ally

As the PNCR heads into what appears to be yet another hot contest ahead of the November 2025 general and regional elections, one of that party’s executive members, Ganesh Mahipaul called for party unity.

“Unity must be our guiding principle as we rally our troops for victory in 2025. Despite any differences, a shared commitment to the PNCR’s ideals and objectives should unite us in our pursuit of national progress and prosperity,” said Mr Mahipaul who is also a parliamentarian for the PNCR-led parliamentary coalition of A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change.

He stressed the importance of “maintaining integrity and playing by the rules” as well as “maturity, mutual respect, and a focus on the greater good.”