Norton likely to replace Granger as APNU Chair but Harmon not happy
Following discussions that started a week ago, news broke on Monday that former President David Granger will resign by the end of this week as Chairman of the coalition of opposition parties – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).
The News Room was reliably informed on Tuesday that Aubrey Norton as leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R) – the largest party in the APNU – will replace Granger once he resigns.
But Harmon, who is the current Opposition Leader, is not happy with the moves to install Norton as Chair of the Coalition. Norton is currently challenging Harmon for the Leader of the Opposition post which he (Harmon) has maintained he will not give up.
Norton did not attend the meeting on Monday where it was agreed that Granger, no longer being the leader of the PNC/R, will resign as Chair of the APNU. Harmon, who is the General Secretary along with Khemraj Ramjattan of the Alliance for Change (AFC) reportedly joined Granger for the meeting.
Although Norton was invited, he was reportedly not in support of the proposed agenda and stayed away, party sources told the News Room.
The Accord, which is the rule book for the APNU coalition, reportedly mandates that whoever is the leader of the PNC/R should also be the leader of the APNU.
But there were reported efforts by Harmon and others to now recommend an election of a new Chairman although the Accord does not speak to an election or selection.
That position was challenged by the Norton controlled Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the PNC/R.
Granger’s resignation as Chairman of the APNU is seen as a move that represents a further loss of power for Harmon. Harmon has been confronted with weekly maneuvers from party comrades to give up the post as Opposition Leader.
Norton controls the PNC/R’s CEC, it is that body that is currently applying pressure for Harmon to give up the post as Leader of the Opposition.
Harmon, Norton and Granger have all refused to speak on the issues relating to the Opposition’s leadership to the press or in public.
Three weeks ago, the CEC of the PNC/R agreed that Norton must get a seat in the National Assembly and become the country’s Opposition Leader, but even then, Harmon resisted the idea.
But although Granger is resigning as Chairman of the APNU, he remains representative of the APNU+AFC list, wielding enormous power still in the APNU+AFC coalition.
It is Granger who has the power to recall Members of Parliament and appoint new ones but Norton has not been able to engage Granger on this front to date.
The CEC also believes that Norton should be Representative of the List, a post that Granger can continue to hold until the next regional and general elections unless he resigns.
Harmon had hoped to be co-opted to the Central Executive Committee but with almost 10 persons already co-opted, Harmon remains on the outside of the major decision-making body at the party level.