By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform [PNC/R], David Granger is blaming the People’s Progressive Party for the chaos that erupted at the Party’s 18th Biennial Congress today.
Granger was unopposed during the leadership race, following the withdrawal of Aubrey Norton, who cited a flawed voting process. There were protests by the Linden faction that claimed they were prevented from voting.
The congress was also marred by the firing of a gunshot in the air.
During a press conference at Congress Place this evening, Granger confirmed that indeed a gunshot was fired, however he could not say who fired the shot, but he is adamant that the person involved is in no way connected to the PNCR.
He told reporters that an investigation was launched. The Leader sought to explain that persons “broke the barrier and forced their way into the auditorium…someone was in danger of being crushed.”
“It is the opinion of the leadership of the PNCR that these events were deliberately orchestrated by the PPPC to sabotage the congress, but failed miserably. The PNCR intends to mount an investigation to deal with these agents who helped with the PPPC’s plan to sabotage our 18th Biennial Congress,” the Party said.
When asked to provide evidence of this, Granger noted that the PPP and other agencies published full page advertisements in the newspapers, expressing their interest in the outcome of the Congress.
Linden Faction prevented from Voting
The Party disputed allegations that some members from the Linden faction were prevented from voting. It was explained that a special effort was made by the leadership and the accreditation committee to resolve all matters of concern and it was agreed that irrespective of the difficulties concerning the issuing of delegate cards, all accredited delegates from Region Ten whose naes were on the lists would be allowed to vote.
It was further noted that both Norton and Region Ten Chairman, Sharma Solomon were issued with a copy of the final lists of approved delegates.
“Earlier in the day, two busloads of persons from Linden arrived at the congress venue, all claiming to be delegates. During the registration process, they were advised that there were no delegate cards for them. Being dissatisfied, the then proceeded to block the entrance to the auditorium where accredited delegates were assembling to vote,” the Party explained.
No Fresh Elections; PNCR not divided
When asked if he [Granger] will resign and call fresh elections, given the allegations of a flawed voting system, Granger responded: Moi?
He then noted that there are no grounds for him to resign as the Party’s Leader and he is not prepared to do so, if there are no evidence of “wrong doing.”
Granger denied that there is division within the Party, even though former PNC Executive Member and former Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Clarissa Riehl announced her intention to resign from the Party. Norton on the other hand is still contemplating his next move.
Riehl also described Granger as “too stiff” to lead the Party, while others think he is too aloof.
However, Granger does not agree that he is aloof. He said he is not worried about those persons who may not like his style of leadership since the majority of party members approve of it
He further noted that he has never obstructed anyone from running for any office in the Party.
Following the commotion prior to voting, some Linden supporters were overheard saying: “PNC lose Linden forever.”
“Granger don’t like the PNC…he never liked the PNC. The whole PNC bruk up now.”
Other members who were elected unopposed at the Congress include: Basil Williams – Chairman; Volda Lawrence and Dr George Norton – Vice Chair Persons.