Volda backs Norton as he picks up most nominations for PNC/R leader
- Mahipaul cautions ‘nominations don’t win elections'
By Kurt Campbell
With nominations set to wrap up on Friday ahead of the PNC/R’s 21st Biennial Congress in December, Party Executive Aubrey Norton has picked up the majority of nominations for leader from party groups across the country, the News Room has been informed.
Norton has also reportedly secured the support of Party Chairman and acting Leader Volda Lawrence who has also been nominated for the post of Chairman.
But sources at the PNC/R’s Congress Place, Sophia Headquarters told the News Room that Lawrence does not have any intentions of running for Leader and it is unclear whether she will accept the nomination to be returned to the post of Chairman.
“Volda is not running. So it’s not a case where we don’t want to support Volda or we dog her out. She made it known that she will not accept any nomination,” the source told the News Room Thursday.
Lawrence and her faction in the PNC/R are supporting Norton for the top post.
The News Room was informed that Norton, a front running as he holds himself out to be, has secured the bulk of the nominations in Region Four, the largest voting district.
“Region Four decides what direction the elections go in,” the source said pointing out that Norton has also picked up nominations from Linden and the wider Region Ten area where his contenders Joseph Harmon and Richard Van West Charles are yet to engage party members as part of their campaign.
The News Room understands that up to Thursday morning, Harmon had only secured one nomination each from the East Bank of Demerara and Georgetown and none from the East Coast of Demerara.
Van West Charles has also secured a nomination for Leader with one group from the East Coast of Demerara also nominating former Party Chairman Basil Williams for Leader.
With Lawrence throwing her support behind Norton, he has also secured the support of Party Executive Carol Joseph who is well respected for her political work in Region Five.
Regions Two and Three were described as “battlegrounds” where the support for the next leader of the party is split.
But as PNC/R Parliamentarian Ganesh Mahipaul cautions, “nominations don’t win elections.”
In a Facebook post on Thursday morning, he recalled when he ran for a seat on the Central Executive Committee (CEC) previously; he received two nominations while his contender received 21. He later won the seat with 97 delegates voting for him while his opponent got 62 votes.
Mahipaul who backs Harmon said, “the race is not for the swift but for those that can endure it to the end.”
Meanwhile, for the post of Chairman, in addition to Lawrence, Amanza Walton Desir, Shurwayne Holder, Simona Broomes, Roysdale Forde and Christopher Jones have all been nominated.
“A number of groups nominated Holder but what you will see is for a lot of these other posts like CEC members and so, a lot of young people were nominated,” the source said.
Former President and current Party Leader David Granger has also secured a nomination for Central Executive Committee member, the News Room was told. Granger, who has been facing criticism over his leadership style will not seek re-election for party leader.
Groups are also expected to submit their nominations for Vice Chairs, Treasurer and 15 Executives to their respective Regional and District Secretaries.
The nominations conclude on Friday with time remaining for more nominations to be sent but unlike what was done in the past, the nominations are not being sent to General Secretary Amna Ally.
Both Norton and Van West Charles have raised concerns with the current actions of leading party figures which could affect the quality of the elections and congress.
Ally has reportedly openly supported Harmon with Dr Van West Charles and other contenders for the position of Party Leader expressing concerns over her threat to a ‘free, fair and transparent’ congress.
Instead, the nominations are being submitted to an Accreditation Committee.
That Committee will have to first verify that the groups making the nominations are in good standing and their delegates (one delegate for every 10 financial members) are rightfully accounted.
Those persons who were nominated will now have to be written to officially by the committee and will have an opportunity to accept or decline the nominations after which a preliminary list will be prepared and circulated.
Delegates will vote for their candidates when the congress is held on December 11, 2021.