PNCR, other parties divided over validity of APNU Council meeting

Last Updated on Sunday, 9 June 2024, 21:17 by Writer

The members of the APNU Council

The People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) is rejecting claims by four small political parties that it is no longer in the leadership of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) because the party did not attend last Thursday’s council meeting and elections.

Under APNU’s banner, the group issued a statement saying that Mr Vincent Henry was elected Chairman at the meeting which was not attended by the PNCR. He told Demerara Waves Online News that the invitation was sent by email to “all of us” including PNCR Leader Aubrey Norton on June 3 followed by a reminder on June 5 to “discuss the way forward.” “I don’t know that you can forge an email but that is what I saw,” Mr Henry said. “It was unfortunate at that meeting that the Leader of the PNC didn’t arrive and we didn’t receive any excuse for his absence and we the members of the APNU who were there, we decided for a Chairman and General Secretary because we need to get the APNU very active,” he said.

The parties said APNU held its first Executive Council meeting since 25th January 2022.

The PNCR, which the largest and most influential party in the opposition parliamentary coalition, stated categorically “that any claim that the PNCR was invited to a meeting is totally untrue, as we received no such invitation.” That party also added that no one enjoys the right to send such an invitation.

APNU General Secretary, Tabita Sarabo-Halley, at about 10:16 p.m. Saturday countered, saying that “any member of the Executive Council has the right to request a meeting of the Executive Council of the APNU.”

But the PNCR said that, as APNU Chairman in the person of Mr Aubrey Norton, no notice was sent out for an APNU meeting or elections. “What purports to be an APNU elections is unauthorized and null and void,” the PNCR said. Mr Henry disagreed with that stance. “I cannot agree with that because, like I mentioned, in all organisations there ought to be some form of democracy. The most you can do is come and talk it over and w0rk out something that will be acceptable to all,” he said.

For his part, Mr Henry said the new APNU executive council would be in office for six months by which time a decision would be made on whether to have a rotational leadership system or vote for someone who would be “strategic and be very strong at the next election.” He said it was now up to the PNCR to decide how it would be involved in APNU’s work because whenever meetings are called Mr Norton would be invited.

Mr Henry said there was no official APNU meeting for “quite a long time” and so the leaders of the various parties decided to hold a meeting to plan for now and the longer term.

Asked if the PNCR was no longer an APNU member, Mr Henry said they acknowledged the fact that that party is the largest in that segment of the coalition. “We have no problem with them, except at the meeting we decided that we need to get active,” he said, adding that there was no need for any hullabaloo.

APNU said in a statement earlier Sunday that those who attended the June 6 meeting were Mr. Keith Scott, Leader of the National Front Alliance (NFA); Mr. Courdel Joseph, Member of the NFA; Mr. Vincent Henry MP and Leader of the Guyana Action Party (GAP); Mr. Errol Ross, Chair of the Guyana Action Party (GAP); Mr. Jaipaul Sharma, Leader of the Equal Rights and Justice Party (ERJP), and Mrs. Tabitha Sarabo-Halley, MP and Leader of the Guyana Nation Builders (GNB).

Votes were taken and the Guyana Action Party’s leader, Mr. Vincent Henry was elected Chairman of the APNU and Mrs. Tabitha Sarabo-Halley was elected General Secretary of the APNU, the coalition said.

Ms Halley said they in APNU believe that all members of the Partnership, including the PNCR, are equally important, and hope that we can work together assiduously to unseat the PPP in 2025.