Aubrey Norton dismisses Roysdale Forde’s concerns; assures “open and transparent” election

Last Updated on Friday, 14 June 2024, 22:51 by Writer

PNCR Leader Aubrey Norton addressing his party’s General Council on Saturday. (File picture)

Incumbent Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Aubrey Norton on Friday dismissed calls by his opponent for upcoming internal elections, Roysdale Forde, for Congress Administrator Sherwin Benjamin to be removed or asked to resign because of bias and ineligibility.

“I don’t see the basis for the removal of Sherwin Benjamin. Sherwin Benjamin served this party. He is committed to this party,” Mr Norton told a news conference.

Team Forde had formally asked for Mr Benjamin’s removal, citing the fact that he was nominated to be elected to sit on the Central Executive Committee and is resp0nsible for accreditation, and is a close associate of the Leader. However, the PNCR Leader said that, in keeping with his party’s rules, Mr Benjamin could not contest for an elected position. “The only condition I know that is placed when it comes to accreditation is that the person, who is in charge of accreditation, should not be contesting in the election and Sherwin is not contesting in the election,” he said. Mr Norton clarified that Mr Benjamin does not have to contest to sit on the PNCR’s executive because he was elected at the regional level and is a regional representative.

The PNCR Congress is slated for June 28 to 30 at which Mr Norton hopes there would be transparent elections. “We will ensure that the party congress has its proper systems in place and that, in the final analysis, we have an open and transparent election,” he said. He said there would be an opportunity to address concerns at the next Central Executive Committee meeting.

Reacting to several other concerns by Mr Forde’s camp, the PNCR Leader said, “a lot of what you’re hearing here is a response to the overwhelming nomination of Aubrey Norton as Leader. It has nothing to do with bias etc;” he said.

In response to concerns by Team Forde that groups had been merged, Mr Norton said that the division of groups is “normal”. He said party groups meet or round robin to identify the candidates and delegates for the Congress. “So far, I’ve been hearing all of these comments but there has been the provision of no evidence that any group violated the constitution,” he said. Without providing details, Mr Norton said “there is one possible violation” related to a nomination for Mr Forde.

The PNCR Leader sought to dismiss another of Team Forde’s concerns – that new groups suddenly cropped up in early June in several regions across Guyana, saying that while new groups could be formed their members could not nominate anyone or send delegates if the group members are PNCR members for less than one year. “I do not know of any new group that was recently formed in the party that did nomination. All the groups that did nominations are either old groups in the party as well as groups that have been merged which has always happened in the party and the nominations were legitimate,” he said.