The 19th Biennial Delegates Congress of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) was held over the past three days as mandated by the article 7.2 of the Party’s Constitution. Six hundred and twenty-five (625) Delegates and two hundred and seventy five (275) Observers from 140 groups were accredited. According to a statement this evening from the PNCR, Delegates and Observers came from all ten administrative Regions of Guyana as well as from the North American and the United Kingdom Region “to deliberate on the serious issues that are facing the nation”.
The opening ceremony was held on Friday 26th August 2016. The Chairman of the Party, Mr. Basil Williams, MP, gave the welcome and opening remarks. The highlight of the opening day was the Congress Address by Leader of the PNCR and President of Guyana, David A. Granger.
Day two of the Congress, according to the PNCR, was a working session. Groups from across the country and overseas brought greetings to the Congress and the General Secretary of the PNCR, Mr. Oscar Clarke, CCH, presented the General Secretary’s Report. This Report covered the state of the Party, its organs and its political work over the period under review. The General Secretary also appraised the Congress of plans for the celebration of the Party’s Diamond Jubilee on the 5th October 2017.
“A Special Congress will be the center piece of a year of celebration marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s National Congress,” the party stated. The General Secretary also reported on the Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry, the Cummingsburg Accord, and Venezuela’s outrageous claim to Guyana’s territory.
The Plenary session of Congress examined the Chairman’s remarks, the Leader’s Congress Address and the General Secretary’s Report. The PNCR said Delegates and Observers vigorously debated and discussed the various issues emanating from these three addresses.
Several questions and motions were brought before the Congress. Most significant was a motion for the establishment of a Resource Centre to house the works of past and future leaders of the PNCR. This Resource Centre will be housed at the Party’s Headquarters Congress Place, Sophia.
Several questions were submitted to the Congress. These included the Party’s engagement with the Diaspora, national and regional infrastructure development, capacity building and youth membership of the Party among others.
Elections of Party Officers:
On the final day of Congress, Sunday 28th August 2016, elections for Party Officers were conducted in accordance with the Party’s Constitution. These elections were carried out in a very orderly and transparent manner.
The Returning Officer, Mr. Michael Somersall and his team received no complaints.
The following officers ran unopposed:
· Party Leader- David Granger
· Party Chairman- Basil Williams
· Party Treasurer- Ronald Bulkan
The following persons contested for the two positions of Vice Chairperson of the PNCR:
· Ms. Volda Lawrence
· Dr. George Norton
· Mr. James Bond
· Mr. Clement Corlette
A total of Four hundred and fifty-five (455) votes were casts. There were five spoiled votes.
Ms. Volda Lawrence received – 393 votes; Dr. George Norton received – 227 votes; Mr. James Bond – 148 votes, and Mr. Clement Corlette – 8 votes.
Ms. Volda Lawrence and Dr. George Norton were duly declared Vice Chairpersons of the PNCR.
Central Executive Committee:
Fifty-five persons contested for positions on the fifteen (15) member Central Executive Committee (results to be announced later).
The Party Officers were installed by the Immediate Past Leader of the PNCR, Mr. Robert Corbin, CCH. In his charge to the Congress, Party Leader, Brigadier David Granger said that the PNCR must show leadership, stewardship, fellowship and Statesmanship. The Leader said that the PNCR must show leadership to the Partnership (APNU). He said the Party must inspire and advise, and that “from top to bottom the coalition must be on its best behavior.”
The PNCR leader reminded that social cohesion was a central plank of the Party and the Coalition, in an obvious reference to recent remarks by the Opposition Leader, Brigadier Granger said “we are faced with reckless, racists ranting; we must not go into the gutter with them…”
The Leader called on the recently elected leaders of the PNCR to show stewardship to members and supporters, he said “we are their servants; they delegated us to represent them.”