By Tracey Khan – Drakes
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Former contender of the leadership of the People’s National Congress Reform [PNC/R], Aubrey Norton today cleared the air on a number of issues and vehemently rejected accusations leveled against him by the Party.
Norton, who was contending for the post with Leader of the Opposition David Granger, dropped out of the race, citing a flawed accreditation process within the Party; a claim which was debunked by the accreditation committee.
Protests erupted at the Party’s 18th Biennial Congress on July 27 after a group of Lindeners claimed they were prevented from voting and that their delegate cards were missing.
Norton at a news conference at the Critchlow Labour College maintained that the system was manipulated to ensure that Granger remains in the position.
“The problems emerged because of the manipulation of the process to ensure the re – election of the incumbent leader…I submit that the problems that emerged at the congress must be placed squarely at the feet of the General Secretary and party leadership,” Norton told reporters.
He referred to former contenders including complaints by PNCR Members, Carl Greenidge and Vincent Alexander regarding the same flawed electoral process.
“The Party’s General Secretary [Oscar Clarke] is the common denominator in this entire process, he posited.
“The solution is to fix the party’s electoral system and make it fair, transparent and void of manipulation.”
Norton, who was also General Secretary of the Party under the late President Desmond Hoyte, sought to explain that the logistics issues was not limited to region 10, however, it was that region that suffered the most and this led him to withdraw from the race.
Did not mislead Sharma Solomon
Meanwhile, Norton also rejected claims by Clarke that he misled Chairman of Region Ten and PNCR Member, Sharma Solomon.
He told the news conference that Solomon is capable of fighting his own battles.
“I wish to make it clear that I was not advising Mr. Solomon, more importantly I was not even informed of what action Mr. Solomon was going to take at the congress….If Mr. Solomon cares, he can identify his advisors and the facts will reveal that it was not Aubrey Norton.”
The Leadership of the PNCR had also noted that the chaos at Congress Place by the group of Lindeners was well organized and financed and blamed the governing People’s Progressive Party (PPP).
In this regard, Norton said that it was members within the PNC/R who financed his campaign.
He said it is unfortunate that the PNCR Leadership would link its own members to the PPP.
“I wish to state here and now that the PPP sees me as their enemy and I never had or intend to have any relationship with the PPP”.
However, despite the battle within the PNCR, Norton said he remains a member.
“I believe it is time for the PNC/R to move on….They took outdated political approach of malign me, I forgive them and invite them to let us put in place a plan for the PNC/R…..I invite the party leadership to become inclusive and give the Guyanese people hope”.
He said the Party has clear ideas on where it needs to go and believes it will progress, however, the electoral process needs to be fixed.
Norton believes that he has a bring future in the Party and intends to continue to labour for the PNCR.