Sep 18, 2021 News
…Forde, Norton among frontrunners, Lawrence, Harmon still undecided
Kaieteur News – The Peoples National Congress/Reform (PNC/R), Guyana’s single largest opposition mass based political party, has set its long awaited 22nd Biennial Congress for later this year – to be held by the end of November 2021, but not later than 13th December 2021.
The decision was taken by the Party’s Central Executive Committee at its most recent meeting held on Thursday last and subsequently announced by Party Chairperson, Volda Lawrence.
Importantly, it was reported that the Congress, which will be for delegates only, will be utilising a decentralised format and will be conducted over one day at Party Congress Houses, in the respective regions and not a single activity traditionally held at the party’s headquarters, Congress Place Sophia.
Lawrence, the party’s chairperson, in making the announcement during the press engagement yesterday did indicate to members of the press that the next step ahead of the substantive event is for the party to put in place the Congress Committee, “which will then have all of the administrative committees set up.”
This, she said, would inform and lead to decisions, such as nomination and other dates to be determined as part of the process for the realisation of the Congress.
According to Lawrence, the Congress Committee should be established in another week’s time when the Central Committee for the party meets again.
Executive Director of the Office of the Leader of the Opposition and veteran politician, Aubrey Norton, has already publicly expressed his intention to contest for the leadership of the party—a position currently held substantively by David Granger, albeit in the interim since, according to party sources, he has no intention vying for leadership of the PNC/R again.
According to sources that this publication spoke with, Opposition Leader (ag), Roysdale Forde, who also serves as the party’s Shadow Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, is currently considered the clear frontrunner, especially in light of the traction being gained recently by Forde in his role as Opposition Leader.
Kaieteur News was told that Forde currently enjoys substantial support from the party base, many of whom are disgruntled at the loss of the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections, and contends that the Attorney-at-Law is reinvigorating the support base of the party from the grass roots upwards.
As it relates to Party Chairperson, Lawrence, this publication was told that like substantive Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon, their dwindling support has led to a current state of indecision on the part of the two executive members.
According to sources, neither of the two would confirm their intention to contest the leadership of the party if nominated.
Pressed further, she told media operatives, “based on the nominations, I will give consideration.”
Norton, Forde’s closest rival, according to party insiders, has already publicly announced his intention to run for the PNC/R’s top office.
He was reported in sections of the media saying, “Once the Congress of the People’s National Congress Reform is called, I intend to run for leadership of the party but to serve the party.”
According to the reports, his plans include rebuilding the PNC/R and reviving the coalition of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) which has become severely fragmented since losing Office.”
Forde, an Attorney-at-Law has been acting in the capacity of Opposition leader since earlier this month.
The Opposition Chief Whip, Christopher Jones, in a public missive earlier this month had indicated that the substantive Leader of the Opposition, Harmon, had departed Guyana on September 3 last.
In that statement, Jones said “Harmon will be out of the jurisdiction for a period of 10 days on a private visit.”
It is unclear if Harmon has returned to the country, since Forde as recent as this week travelled to the Dartmouth, Essequibo locale, in the capacity of Leader of the Opposition to meet with residents and family members of slain businessmen, Orin Boston.
Additionally, it was also noted by Lawrence, during the press engagement yesterday, that the deadline for the Congress took into consideration that the period is linked to the Thanksgiving weekend in the USA “which is a special occasion for our members living in the United States.”
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