PNCR Leader reinforces connection between party and US-based groups

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 May 2024, 23:41 by Writer

PNCR Leader Aubrey Norton

Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform, Aubrey Norton said party groups in the United States (US) were reporting directly to the party’s headquarters in Guyana, raising fresh concerns about compliance with United States (US) law.

He also said that no party group was expelled from the PNCR, in apparent reference to the party’s decision to de-recognise the North American Region (NAR) for refusing to take instructions or directions from the party’s Central Executive Committee and General Council.

“There was no expulsion. Our groups continue to be engaged, functioning, doing what they have to do and that is the crux of the matter,” he said on the Tuesday night edition of Politics 101 with Professor David Hinds.

The PNCR Leader said CEC members Amanza Walton-Desir and Dr Gary Best did not advise on the implications for the United States’ Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) but on the riles that were being developed. In that regard, he said the recommendation was that NAR Inc, as a 501(c) entity – not for profit – could operate in the US in keeping with that country’s laws “but there are persons who operate in groups in support of the party.”

“If you are saying that you are operating in a group in support of the party, then you’ll be guided by the party constitution,” Mr Norton said.

That party’s leader said the PNCR decided that its groups would continue to operate in the US, “do whatever work they do and that they will meet and establish their own committee because they are not going to operate as a 501C in the US.” Mr Derrick Lawrence has been identified as the liaison between party groups and the CEC. He is on record as saying that every effort would be made to ensure there is compliance with US law. The PNCR leader described NAR as a “misnomer” because that entity had only included members in the US rather than also Canada.

However, in an opinion titled “The Declaration of Sophia vs Considerations from New York: Lessons from the Tiff Between the PNCR and NAR”, New York-based Guyanese Attorney-at-Law Dr Vivian Williams on Thursday warned that PNCR groups and their members could be punished under US law if they are not registered under FARA before doing work for their party.

While the PNCR has had groups in the US for several decades without encountering problems with US law, Dr Williams said the main element of a FARA offense is acting upon the request, or direction and control of a foreign principal. In United States V. Rafiekian, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, determined that the “definition of ‘agent’ envisions a mutual agreement to operate subject to foreign direction or control”.