PNCR’s Central Exec member denies advising federal law no barrier to party operations in US

Last Updated on Monday, 27 May 2024, 16:45 by Writer

Ms. Amanza Walton-Desir

People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) executive member, Attorney-at-Law Amanza Walton-Desir on Sunday denied claims that she advised that party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) that the North American Region’s (NAR) work in the United States (US) could face serious implications under the United States Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)

“Colleagues, as you are aware nothing could be further from the truth. You will recall that meeting after meeting, much to the annoyance of some members of the CEC, I warned that we were taking the incorrect approach to the NAR issue. In fact, I explained, ad nauseum,
the FARA regime and its implications for our members and supporters who live in the USA and begged us not to place them in jeopardy,” she told members of the CEC and PNCR’s NAR Executive in a memorandum.

She challenged Mr Lowe to “withdraw the inaccurate statements made to the media as far as they concern me, as soon as possible, and preferably within the next 48 hours.”

Demerara Waves Online News was not immediately successful in contacting Mr Lowe as calls to his mobile phone went unanswered.

Instead, Ms Walton-Desir said that it was PNCR Leader Aubrey Norton who had reported at the CEC Meeting of April 24, 2024, convened shortly after a visit to the United States, that he sought legal advice and he was advised that FARA was not an issue. “He was not at liberty to name the attorney(s) from whom he received said advice,” she said.

Mr Sherwood Lowe

Ms Walton-Desir was Sunday reacting to PNCR Public Relations Director, Sherwood Lowe telling Demerara Waves Online News that she and Attorney-at-Law, Retired Rear Admiral Gary Best had advised the CEC that NAR Inc. faced no jeopardy of doing political work for the PNCR in the US unless it was registered. Mr Lowe made the assertion in an effort to reject claims by NAR Inc Chairman, Ellen Tappin that that New York-based organisation could not take instructions from the PNCR currently or it would breach FARA. She further warned PNCR General Secretary Dawn Hastings-Williams could face up t0 10 years imprisonment and hefty civil fines if they breached FARA by directing NAR Inc or the CEC and General Council-blessed steering committee under the chairmanship of Derrick Lawrence.

It was not immediately clear whether Dr Best disagreed with Mr Lowe’s account.

The PNCR has de-recognised NAR Inc and, according to Mr Lowe, the party would be organising groups under the steering committee to raise funds, sourcing supplies for the party and engaging in other activities.

Mr Lowe had said that the PNCR relied on the legal advice of Ms Walton-Desir and Dr Best. He had said that no advice was sought from any New York lawyer because no one from the US government had contacted the PNCR.

However, Ms Walton-Desir, in her memo on Sunday expressed “great dismay” at Mr Lowe’s utterances. She said that after she had explained the implications for FARA that one of the party’s officers had expressed her deep concern at the meeting and asked that the PNCR proceed with caution.

Ms Amanza Walton-Desir and Mr Aubrey Norton.

She also castigated Mr Lowe for discussing party affairs with the media and questioned his motive for doing so. “His recent utterances to DemWaves on May 25, 2024 therefore suggests that he has abandoned that posture and this is deeply worrying to me and should be to all Party members who understand the importance of privacy of our internal communications,” she said. She questioned whether he spoke with the media in a carefully orchestrated plot to set her up. “Was it to cause me to have no choice but to respond publicly in defence of my integrity and thereby cause me to be branded as someone who “washes the party’s linen in the public”, someone who is “fighting down the Cde Leader”?

The Attorney-at-Law, who had publicly said that she would contest for the post of PNCR Leader once nominated, reminded the CEC in her memo that she had begged on more than one occasion, that a meeting be convened between the entire CEC and NAR with the aim of resolving issues.

In a separate statement issued to the media. she said “Because statements attributed to Mr. Lowe are now a matter of public record, I must now do the same for the sake of my integrity, my professional reputation and to allow us a clearer picture of what is true.

The fact is that Mr. Sherwood Lowe was mendacious in his characterization of my advice to the CEC. Time and again, I warned against the Party’s approach to the NAR. In fact, I explained, ad nauseum, the FARA regime and its implications for our members and supporters who live in the USA and begged us not to place them in jeopardy. I begged on more than one occasion, that we convene a meeting between the entire CEC and NAR with a view to resolving the issues.”