Racial hostility became overbearing – former treasurer on racial discrimination in PNC/R

…says forced to sign blank cheques, Aubrey Norton an “aloof” leader

Weeks after two high ranking officials within the People’s National Congress/Reform (PNC/R) resigned, one of those officials has revealed that racial discrimination and an unhealthy working environment in the party pushed him to resign within one year of ascending to his position.
Faaiz Mursalin, who has been affiliated with the PNC/R for close to a decade, was elected Treasurer of the party in December of 2021. But in December of last year, he as well as General Secretary Geeta-Chandan-Edmond, both resigned from their respective positions.

Former PNC/R Treasurer Faaiz Mursalin

Mursalin’s reason for resigning has now come to light in a letter he addressed to the PNC/R Central Executive Committee (CEC), which was seen by this publication. In it, Mursalin contends that he faced racial discrimination during his time as Treasurer, including from a named well-known figure in the party.
“Firstly, from the time I took office as the elected treasurer of this great party, I was signing blank cheques with no supporting documents. I am always called to sign cheques and whenever I share an opinion of dislike towards this, I am met with hostility. In the month of November, it got worse.”
“I was told by the confidential secretary to the General Secretary that all I am needed for is to sign the cheques and in that month, I signed about 20 blank cheques. I do not know what are the amounts of money written on any of those cheques and I don’t know for what reasons the money, if any were spent on,” Mursalin said in his letter.

Former PNC/R General Secretary Geeta Chandan-Edmond

Mursalin also detailed other transgressions, such as when he submitted a workplan for the party to attract more finances and made suggestions that a financial audit of Congress Place be done. According to the former executive, PNC/R leader Aubrey Norton did not take any action on either of these matters.
But even worse, Mursalin alleged that a particularly well-known figure within the PNC/R demonstrated constant racial hostility. According to him, the party leadership seemed not to care about addressing this behavior.

One bad apple
In an interview with this publication, Mursalin emphasised that change is necessary for the party to regain the trust of the electorate and to be a more tenable environment for him to operate in.
“I think things need to change and change rapidly. The party executive needs to take that action on how they want to see things change, maybe with new leader, maybe with a no confidence motion to make this leader call a biennial delegates conference as soon as possible.”
“The PNC is not a bad party or a racial party, but its people within it. One bad apple can make the whole basket get bad. The party is the bigger picture now. Its about talking about what they are doing and saving the party integrity and face… I’m not the old party official… where I won’t talk about what is wrong and right. I’m one of the young politicians, when you’re wrong, I’ll say that you’re wrong. And the current leadership is wrong and I couldn’t continue with them.”
Mursalin noted that Norton is like a “one man show” in the party and said that if the PNC/R makes drastic changes, it could regain the confidence of the voting population. Asked about the blank cheques, Mursalin admitted that he was worried about them in light of the fact that he still does not know how much money was written on these cheques or how the money was used.
“I’m worried and saddened. I kinda knock myself up because I couldn’t speak out earlier. It came to a point where the racial hostility came in and it became overbearing… to regain confidence, we have to bite the bullet and say what is wrong, is wrong and what is right, is right.”
Chandan-Edmond and Mursalin, both of whom are of East-Indian descent, had only been serving in their respective positions for roughly a year. Chandan-Edmond was appointed in January of 2022. Prior to her resignation, she was on leave of absence from the party.
Meanwhile, Mursalin won 404 votes in the PNC/R’s internal elections in December of 2021, to become treasurer. In a social media post, he had declared that he would “discharge my last and final duties as National treasurer of the P.N.C.R. on December 23, 2022…A formal letter will be prepared and be sent to the Leader’s office, thank you all who supported me.”
Soon after the resignations, Norton at a press conference had claimed to have good relations with both Chandan-Edmond and Mursalin. Asked about this, Mursalin noted that while this was so at a personal level, their relations were anything but good on a working basis. (G3)