Norton says will avoid mistakes of Granger, but has a space for him in ‘Elders’ Council’

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Holding himself out as the frontrunner and the man who would ultimately become the next leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R), Aubrey Norton on Monday said he intends to be inclusive and will work along with the current leader, David Granger and his running mates after the party’s leadership elections conclude in December 2021.

“I don’t intend to sideline anybody,” Norton assured during a frank exchange with Opposition Parliamentarian Sherod Duncan.

But becoming the next leader of the PNC/R means that Norton will replace former President and current Party Leader David Granger, but he sees a place in the party for Granger and other surviving former party leaders.

While the long-serving party member and former General Secretary insists on being an inclusive leader, Norton said he will do things slightly different from Granger and will be keen on avoiding the mistakes he made, but noted that he too is imperfect and could make his own mistakes.

“We need to tap into all elders. Mr. Granger has contributed and like all leaders he made mistakes…I don’t want to make the same mistakes.”

“I do not see Granger as an outsider, but as a leader presently. He is mature in age and if I’m elected leader there will be an elders’ council and I don’t see why he shouldn’t be there,” Norton added.

Contenders Richard Van West Charles (left) and Joseph Harmon

Norton said that the Elders’ Council could also include other former leaders of the Party, such as Robert Corbin.

“No individual will be excluded,” he said while committing to working with his running mates who stand a chance of possibly securing the top post.

Norton said among his main advantage over Joseph Harmon and Richard Van West Charles is that he has no skeletons in his closet.

“Anyone that wants to be objective and face reality…I have done enough to become the leader of the PNC/R,” he reasoned.

Norton said while his work will be different from Granger he aims to do something similar, noting his support for the coalition as a broader political organisation that the PNC/R finds itself in. The PNC/R is the leading party in the APNU+AFC coalition.

Norton said he has the potential to fire up the party while putting to rest assertions that he was tribal.

“I intend to do the work on the ground. Redeem total confidence in our support base…the PNC needs a leader with energy.

“You can be sick today and sick tomorrow. We need to get work done on the ground and that is what I intend to do,” Norton explained.

He said his first agenda item as leader would be to lobby for a new voters’ list. But more importantly, he talks up being more strategic and organised with a clear message for supporters.

“I don’t intent to be a maximum leader. Burnham was that and it shows it don’t work well. I will have an executive to work along with.”

“Everywhere I go it is one thing people ask me. Mr. Norton please could you stay on the ground. The last set we elected they stop answer their phones. Please be accessible.

“I have given them a commitment that I will be accessible and on the ground.”

Norton said it was disingenuous to instigate that the party will become a tribal party if he is elected leader, responding to a comment made by Roysdale Forde, who has since backed Joseph Harmon for the top post.

He also denied accusing another contender, Richard Van West Charles of being a ‘Johnny come lately’ and as a consequence not fit to lead the PNC/R.

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