Feb 26, 2011 News
– party confident of new voting measures
As the country’s main opposition party prepares to choose its Presidential candidate today, in historic and unprecedented circumstances, senior officials are convinced that new voting measures in place will weed out any questions of fraud.
During a press conference yesterday at the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) headquarter at Sophia, party leaders announced a number of measures that included intense scrutiny of persons entering Congress Place for the Special Delegates Congress.
Like the ruling People’s Progressive Party, the PNCR is facing an unprecedented situation with five of its senior members signaling their intentions to run for President of Guyana during General Elections scheduled for later this year.
Today, the Special Delegates Congress is geared to choose that candidate with more than 800 delegates from the various regions and more than 200 observers expected to be present.
PNCR General Secretary, Oscar Clarke, reading from a prepared statement warned that no vehicles will be allowed to enter the compound with registration beginning as early as 07:00hrs.
Of the 200 observers, a number of them will be from North America and the United Kingdom.
Also at the press conference yesterday were Region Four Chairman, Clement Corlette, Parliamentarians Clarissa Riehl and Volda Lawrence, and Public Relations Officer, Malika Ramsey.
Included in the programme, which is set to begin at 10:00hrs, are addresses by the party Chairman, Bishwaishwar “Cammie” Ramsaroop, and Leader Robert Corbin.
The five nominees will each have 10 minutes to make their pitch before the congress.
The proceedings, according to Clarke, will then be handed over to the Returning Officer and team from Sandra V. Jones and Associates.
The five nominees are former army chief, Brigadier (rtd) David Granger; former Finance Minister Carl Greenidge; attorney-at-law James Bond; former Minister, Dr. Faith Harding; and PNCR Vice-Chairman, Basil Williams.
The party yesterday warned that delegates and observers must be early to avoid the last minute rush expected before the close of registration at 09:30hrs.
With accusations and claims that previous congresses were infiltrated by unauthorized persons and non-delegates who illegally helped to sway the votes, this time the party remained confident that the measures will greatly “minimise”, if not totally wipe out any such feelings.
During a vote a few years ago by a number of PNCR senior members to challenge Corbin’s leadership, there was claims that the process was rigged, a claim strongly denied by the party.
This time, pre-selected delegates and observers, in addition to having to present photo IDs, will also be issued with special IDs which have never been used before.
“This will be the first time that they will be seeing these special cards. And they will have to relinquish them when they vote.”
In addition, a list of all the attendees has already been compiled and only these persons will be allowed in, Riehl stressed.
It is expected that the party could make an announcement of a new candidate as early as 16:00hrs.
The officials yesterday noted that nominees are all sitting on the PNCR Accreditation Committee and a list of the delegates and observers have been given to them.
As a matter of fact, many of the new changes in the manner voting would be done have been approved by the nominees, the officials said.
The party has not ruled out using the new measures in voting for future congresses, Clarke said, admitting that a smooth process would spell increased confidence as far as transparency is concerned.
Traditionally, the party’s Presidential candidate was its leader. Before Corbin, there were Desmond Hoyte and Forbes Burnham, both former Presidents of Guyana.
However, last year, Corbin signaled his inttention not to run for the Presidency with the five nominees announcing over a period of time, their intentions.
The party said that it will be hosting a social after the Congress with the public being invited to meet the party’s (Presidential) Candidate.
AUBREY NORTON FRIGHTEN RENEGOTIATION AND RING-FENCING
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