“Little to no chances of me losing” – Norton to PNC leadership challengers

…as Greenidge, Forde, Best, Walton-Desir nominated for leadership

The People’s National Congress (PNC) held its nomination day on Monday at Congress Place, Sophia with the delegates nominating party executives including incumbent leader Aubrey Norton, Parliamentarian Roysdale Forde, Carl Greenidge and retired Rear Admiral Gary Best, for the post of leader.

PNCR leader Aubrey Norton

During Nomination Day delegates came streaming into the compound to nominate persons to leadership positions in the party. As expected, incumbent party leader Norton was nominated for the position of leader, receiving 177 nominations.
Among those who were also nominated for leadership were Opposition Parliamentarians Roysdale Forde (20) and Amanza Walton Desir (9), who have both been vocal about their willingness to run. Also nominated were retired Rear Admiral Gary Best (2); current Advisor on Borders, Carl Greenidge (4) and former Minister within the Natural Resources Ministry, Simona Broomes (2).

PNC leadership challenger Roysdale Forde

In an interview after the proceedings, Norton was confident that he has done enough work with the party groups and would ultimately prevail. He also took a swipe at his challengers by saying that party elections are won by engaging the grass roots, not on social media.
“I think there are little to no chances of me losing. From the time I became party leader, I have been engaging party members and party groups. We have rebuilt this party. Many will recall that by the time I became leader, people were saying they might not vote. We have worked with the ground… I have no doubt that the base of the party will support me and I will do much better than when I became leader.”
“Regardless of the groups, I’m sure I’m going to get more than 75 per cent of the nominations. Because the party people know me… I’m no newcomer. I’ve been in this party since 1972. So, I have no doubt as to what is going to happen in the party. Some people make the mistake of thinking party elections are won on social media. They are won by engaging party members and delegates.”

Supporters of Amanza Walton-Desir

In an interview with this publication on the eve of nomination day, Forde had also been confident that he would clinch the nomination and be nominated for other positions as well. In a subsequent interview, Forde described his mission as one to rescue a PNC party that has never been weaker and more disorganised.
“I believe that I stand a very good chance. The platform on which I’m seeking to lead the party is to rebuild, refocus and regroup the party. The party, I believe at this stage of its history, has never been weaker. Has never been more disorganised. We face serious challenges, in terms of our representation. Our ability to be on the ground.”
“And to be able to meaningfully impact the country at this stage of our development. There are a number of issues that continue to plague the country. I believe the opposition needs to do more work in the communities, be on the ground and be more policy driven… I believe over the past few years our party has regressed,” Forde explained.

Meanwhile, Amanza Walton-Desir was also confident of her chances of being successful in the race for leadership… as well as the party’s chances of being renewed.
“Everyone that had doubts, that there are people within the PNC that are able to revitalise, reenergise and reinvigorate this great party. This is the party that laid the foundation for the development of this country.”
“And for those of you who said we are dead and we’re done, we got news for you. We are here. And we’re going to thrive. So, watch out for us. Because we’re coming,” Walton-Desir went on to say.
It has been announced that the long-awaited 22nd PNC/R Biennial Delegates Congress would be held from June 28 to June 30, 2024. Nomination Day is part of the election process to elect a new Party executive including Party Leader, Chairman, two Vice Chairpersons, Treasurer and 15 Central Executive Committee members.
In the lead up to the congress, contention had also arisen on Thursday after the recent election held by the A Partnership for National Unity where Vincent Henry of the Guyana Action Party (GAP) – one of the small parties that formed APNU – was elected as the new chairman.
In a statement, the Aubrey Norton-led PNCR had said it did not authorise the APNU meeting and called the elections “null and void.” This development comes on the heels of division within the PNCR over Norton’s leadership with party members citing the lack of financial accountability among a host of other issues since he took over the helm of the main Opposition party in December 2021.
Back in 2011, the PNCR had joined forces with GAP, the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), the Justice for All Party (JFAP) and the National Democratic Front to form APNU. Two other small parties, the Equal Rights and Justice Party (ERJP) and the Guyana Nation Builders Movement (GNBM), later joined APNU in 2021.
Before the June 6 election, PNCR Leader Aubrey Norton was the Chairman of APNU. In addition to Henry, GNBM’s founder Tabitha Sarabo-Halley was also elected as General Secretary of APNU. (G3)