Portfolio shakeup among APNU+AFC MPs imminent but no recalls – Norton
Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R) Aubrey Norton is expected to soon be sworn in as a Member of Parliament (MP) and if all goes as planned, he should also become the country’s Opposition Leader immediately after.
On Tuesday, he declined to say what his priority actions will be as Opposition Leader but indicated that with his entrance and that of Volda Lawrence into the National Assembly, there will be changes to the current portfolios held by current APNU+AFC Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs).
“I don’t want to signal almost immediately what I intend to do… I will meet with all Members of Parliament shortly.
“There will have to be changes in portfolio since two persons left and two are now entering it is evident there will be changes,” Norton told a news conference.
He assured that there was no predetermined agenda to recall or remove any MP from the APNU+AFC to make way for others although he had previously said it was needed.
“If that situation rises, as a party, we will deal with it,” he said on Tuesday.
As it relates to shadow cabinet responsibilities, Norton said the APNU+AFC needed someone strong in finance and accounting; this post is currently held by the AFC’s Juretha Fernandes but the PNCR’s first choice was former Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge.
Greenidge, however, is already employed as an Adviser on Borders with the government, and according to Norton, given this fact, the PNC/R selected Lawrence.
Norton could not say if the selection received the full support of the Central Executive Committee of the PNC/R but noted that he consulted at several levels within the PNC/R and the wider APNU Coalition.
Norton, nonetheless, believes Lawrence has the experience and competence in accounts and finance and will complement the team of Opposition MPs.
Norton confirmed that a letter has been dispatched to Chief Elections Officer Vishnu Persaud for him to extract his name and that of Lawrence and declare them to be duly elected persons to sit in the National Assembly.
Former President David Granger, as the Representative of the List of Candidates for the APNU+AFC Coalition, is tasked with writing to GECOM for the body to extract names and declare the recommended persons to be duly elected in order to be sworn in as Members of Parliament.
There were, however, inconsistencies in Granger’s signature which forced officials at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to doubt the authenticity of the letter.
Following an article by the News Room that the letter appeared to be fake with a fake signature, a statement was issued by former reporter Royden James purportedly on behalf of Granger, confirming that the letter was sent by him [Granger] to GECOM.
The statement claimed that the signatures vary because one is electronic and the other isn’t.
Norton and Lawrence are replacements for Nicolette Henry and Joseph Harmon, who both resigned from the National Assembly.
On Monday, Speaker of the National Assembly Manzoor Nadir said he is ready to have the two vacancies on the Opposition side of the House filled as early as the next sitting of the National Assembly.