Harmon, Norton preparing for Congress on Dec 11 despite possibility of postponement

Candidates for PNC Leader: Joseph Harmon and Aubrey Norton at the party's Nomination Day activities on November 12, 2021

At least two candidates vying for leader of the Peoples National Congress Reform (PNC/R) are preparing for the holding of the party’s Congress this Saturday despite the possibility of that long-awaited event being postponed.

Vincent Alexander has been appointed Chief Elections Officer for that party’s Biennial Congress which was set for December 11. The PNC’s Congress which was last held in 2018 where current leader David Granger returned unopposed as party leader.

But this time around, Granger is out of the race amid much internal pressure from within the party for him to step down after the PNC-lead 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 PPP/C Opposition.

Vying for leadership now are Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon and other party executives Aubrey Norton, Dr Vincent Van West Charles and Basil Williams.

Contacted for a comment on reports about the possibility of Congress being postponed, Harmon explained that such a determination is “premature”.

He explained that “the Central Executive Committee appointed Mr Vincent Alexander to be the chief elections officer for these elections and that they asked, by way of a motion, that Mr Alexander assess the readiness and preparedness of the party in all of the regions to be able to successfully hold these elections on December 11.”

Against this backdrop, the Opposition Leader reasoned that Alexander has until Thursday to present his findings and that PNC officials must await that report.

“We have to await Mr Alexander’s report. So, any talks about postponement at this time is a little premature,” Harmon expressed.

Nevertheless, Harmon noted that as a candidate in these elections, he is still preparing for Congress on December 11. He noted too that he is confident Alexander will make the right call on the hosting of the PNC Congress.

“Mr Alexander is a very experienced person where these matters are concerned and when his name came up as the person who was recommended, I fully supported that recommendation and I would basically rely on his determination as to whether or not we should go ahead on the 11th or not,” Harmon said.

Meanwhile, Norton, when contacted by this media entity, contended that “I know nothing about a postponement”. According to Norton, as far as he is aware, the PNC Congress is on for December 11 and he and his team are preparing for such.

In Stage 1 of the congress, elections will be held for the leader, Chairman, Vice Chairpersons and Treasurer. In the second stage, there will be an election for the members of the Central Executive Committee.

Harmon’s candidacy is supported by several Members of Parliament and party members who attended his campaign launch that was streamed live on the PNCR Facebook page. These include: Coretta McDonald, Roysdale Forde, Ganesh Mahipaul and Annette Ferguson – all parliamentarians.

Meanwhile, Dr Van West-Charles has been endorsed by several PNCR members including prominent leaders in Linden, including Solomon and former PNC parliamentarian Vanessa Kissoon.

Reports also indicate that Norton has the backing of current PNC Chair Volda Lawrence who is said to have turned down her nomination for the post of leader.