Jan 26, 2022 News
…as Granger, Harmon step aside
Kaieteur News – Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform, Aubrey Norton has taken over the reins of the APNU as David Granger and Joseph Harmon stepped down as chairman and general secretary respectively.
The coalition according to a statement on Tuesday held its first EXCO meeting of 2022. Present at the meeting were Granger, Harmon, Norton, Mr. Jaipaul Sharma of the Equal Rights and
Justice Party, Mr. Vincent Henry of the Guyana Action Party, Mrs. Tabitha Sarabo-Halley, MP of
Guyana Nation Builders and Mr. Keith Scott of the National Front Alliance.
The substantive agenda saw the passing of the baton for the continuation and development of
coalition politics as Granger and Harmon reported their decision to demit office as Chair and General Secretary of the APNU. The EXCO requested that Harmon continues as General Secretary for a period of seven days to facilitate the smooth transition to a new General Secretary. However, Mr. Granger demitted office with immediate effect paving the way for the election of Norton as the new Chairman of the APNU. According to the statement, members of the Executive thanked the outgoing Chair and General Secretary for their role in advancing the idea of the APNU to what it is today. “It was noted that their astute leadership saw the growth of the APNU and the acceptance of the populace to coalition politics which resulted in an increase in votes from 2011 to 2020,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, the resignation of Granger and Harmon is being seen as the initial step for Norton to take control of the leadership of the opposition. The PNCR executive has already decided that Norton must be elected Leader of the Opposition and representative of the list. Those posts are being held by Harmon and Granger respectively. It is not clear whether any concrete decision was made regarding those two posts when the APNU met on Tuesday. Both Granger and Harmon have been stubborn regarding calls for them to step aside.
Political Commentator, Dr. Henry Jeffrey in a recent online discussion called on both Granger and Harmon to resign their posts, paving the way for Norton. He said having overwhelmingly won the leadership of the PNCR, Norton should be made the head of the list as well as the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament. Norton had told a news conference that “one of the arguments the PNCR Central Executive Committee made, is that it has been the convention in the Party and the second argument, is that it provides for better coordination and control of the activities of the Party and for better strategising to ensure efficacy.” In this regard, he said that a decision is likely to be made by mid next week. According to him, the Leader of the Party and the representative of the list has been one or the same person, historically, but this had changed since the PNC joined the Coalition.
He noted that some compromises were made which allowed for the modification. Nonetheless, “at the last election, it was again placed back together and we have therefore returned to the tradition, which we believe, is in the best interest of the party and the country,” Norton pointed out.
However, since Norton made the announcement, there has been resistance from Harmon who in an official statement to the media had reminded that, “the main Parliamentary Opposition is the APNU+AFC coalition and consists of 31 Members of Parliament.” To this end, he reminded that, “the APNU Partnership has an established structure and if the executive of a party in the partnership has a position and they wish to express that position, they should follow the established procedures.” Harmon used the occasion to remind publicly that, “the Office of the Leader of the Opposition is a constitutional office and is consequently governed by the constitution.” This, in addition to an unsigned statement released to the media purportedly from “Members” reminding that “in 2011 at the birth of the APNU, a collective decision was made as to who would be head of the list. In 2015, a collective decision was made as to who would be head of the list when the Alliance For Change coalesced with APNU.” In 2020, the APNU+AFC agreed that the head and the deputy head of the list would be Granger and Khemraj Ramjattan respectively.
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