…PSC hopeful Norton will lead a responsible, vibrant Opposition
Congratulations are trickling in for new People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) leader Aubrey Norton, with his predecessor, former leader David Granger, issuing a statement congratulating him on his ascension to the top seat.
Granger, who was not physically present at the party’s recently concluded Biennial Congress where Norton was elected and who does not have a seat on the Central Executive Committee (CEC), assured Norton in his statement that he remains available to contribute to the party.
“The former leader expressed satisfaction that the process that was initiated by the presentation of the report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Congress to the Central Executive Committee in April 2020 led to the convening of a safe and successful Congress in December,” the PNCR said in a statement.
“The former leader assured the new leader of his continued contribution to the party, of his commitment to the satisfactory conclusion of the party’s reform process, of his support for the party’s programme and, also, of his adherence to the party’s principles.”
Granger was not nominated to run as leader amid much internal pressure from within the party for him to step down after the PNC-led A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition was booted out of executive office after one term – which was also dramatically cut short when one of their own members supported a No-Confidence Motion brought by the then People’s Progressive Party Opposition.
Meanwhile, British High Commissioner Jane Miller also congratulated Aubrey Norton on becoming leader of the PNCR, following the 21st Biennial Delegates Congress elections on December 18, 2021.
According to a statement from the Commission, the High Commissioner had sent a letter to Norton conveying the diplomat’s congratulations and adding that she “look(s) forward to meeting you in the New Year and working together on issues affecting the people of Guyana”.
Also expressing congratulations to Norton was the Private Sector Commission, which expressed hope that with Norton installed as the PNCR leader he would lead a “strong, responsible and vibrant Opposition” that also upheld the law. They also responded to some of Norton’s more harsh remarks, made in his first address to the party as leader on Sunday.
“The Private Sector Commission extends congratulations to Mr Aubrey Norton on his election as the leader of the People’s National Congress. The Commission looks forward to Mr Norton leading a strong, responsible and vibrant Opposition, upholding the Constitution and urging respect for the maintenance of law and order, as the leader of the major party in the APNU/AFC coalition.”
“The Private Sector Commission notes with regret Mr Norton’s unfair and inaccurate criticisms of the Commission as “politically biased” and can only assume that his remarks were driven by the fact that the Commission, in the defence of democracy, vigorously opposed the attempt to rig the last election in favour of the APNU/AFC coalition,” the PSC said.
Notwithstanding, the PSC noted that it welcomes Norton’s expressed interest in supporting the Private Sector and said it looks forward to the opportunity of inviting him to meet with the Commission in this regard.
“The Private Sector Commission remains an independent organisation that address cross cutting issues that affect the business community and by extension the people of Guyana,” PSC concluded its statement by saying.
PNCR’s smaller partner in the coalition, the Alliance For Change, also extended congratulations to Norton. According to party Executive Cathy Hughes, AFC looks forward to working with Norton as he embraces his new role.
“The AFC looks forward to working with this new Executive to strengthen the Opposition against the wrongdoings of the Government, ensuring that better benefits flow to the people of Guyana. This is particularly important as we confront the ills of our present circumstances, and prepare to meet the socio-economic changes that are rapidly evolving. The people are anxious and impatient for change and we must meet their expectations,” Hughes said in the statement.
Norton secured a landslide victory at the PNCR’s 21st Biennial Congress, obtaining more than half of the 1280 votes cast. He got 967 votes while Opposition Leader Harmon obtained 245 votes and Van West-Charles received 64 votes.