Norton backs business boycott calls, says MP Figueira didn’t speak for PNCR

Last Updated on Saturday, 4 May 2024, 11:02 by Writer

Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Aubrey Norton on Thursday backed calls by two United States-based anti-government activists to boycott businesses in New York and Guyana whose owners support the People’s Progressive Party Civic administration.

“If it necessitates bringing it to local businesses, I see no problem,” he told a news conference, adding that the Irfaan Ali-led government was oppressive, discriminatory, and oil revenues were not benefitting Guyanese but were being used to go overseas to mobilise support.

That party’s leader, however, distanced his party from Region 10 parliamentarian Jermaine Figueira who opposes the boycott. “Jermaine Figueira has a right to his view; whoever else has a right t0 their view. It doesn’t follow that their views are the party’s policy position,” he said. He explained that although a party member might be a councillor or a parliamentarian, the PNCR’s executive position is the party’s. “When you meet and you bring together your views and you have a position, that’s a party position. Our constitution provides for Leader of the party to make pronouncements on these issues and so I’m saying to you there is no harm in Figueira pronouncing. He has a right as an individual. His pronouncements are not the pronouncements of the People’s National Congress Reform,” he said.

He said that instead, the PPP had called for boycotts over the years.

Mr Norton said the PNCR’s official position is that a boycott is justifiable but said opposition activists Mark Benschop and Rickford Burke were not party members but their actions sometimes coincide with those of his political organisation. “If Rickford Burke and Mark Benschop believe that the way they could help the struggle in Guyana by calling for a boycott, that is their right. I sense they wrote in their individual capacity,” the party leader added.

The PNCR Leader accused the government of staging “trumped up charges” against several Afro-Guyanese and so he saw no problem with Guyanese in the Diaspora using boycott of businesses as a weapon to pressure owners into getting the government to change its ways and become accountable.

Responding to calls by Figueira to engage the government on issues of concern, the PNCR Leader said efforts had been made to do so on the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy but with little success. He noted that the government had also been avoiding collective bargaining for increased wages and salaries, and the substantive appointment of the Chancellor of the Judiciary and the Chief Justice. “You cannot engage a corrupt government that has no interest in policy formulation,” Mr Norton said.