Candidates for the post of Chairman within the People’s National Congress/Reform (PNC/R) in the upcoming August 2018 elections are being challenged by the party’s incumbent Chair, Basil Williams to a debate to show their worthiness.
“Who wants to challenge me must show their track record of achievements for the PNC…People [candidates] must come and tell the membership why they want [to be voted for],” he told media operatives at the side-lines of an event held on Wednesday morning.
Williams, who was traditionally unopposed for the post of Chairman within the PNC/R, will this year be vying against State Minister, Joseph Harmon and Public Health Minister, Volda Lawrence.
In April last, the Legal Affairs Minister had hinted his intention to run again for the Chairmanship post saying “I am a servant of the PNC and a servant of my party. They know me. I have been working steadily throughout the years.”
On June 21, 2018, longstanding party stalwart and State Minister Harmon announced his candidacy in a short statement.
He had disclosed that the PNC holds its Congress biennially, at which time all positions of leadership (inclusive of Party Leader and Central Executives) are up for voting.
“That is the democracy which we practise: so every member of the Party can aspire to the highest office in our party. And like many others, I am a member of the Party of long standing, and therefore have indicated that it is my desire and my interest in putting myself up as a candidate for the chairmanship of the Party,” Harmon said.
This announcement was made days after the PNC had held its second General Council Meeting for the year, on June 16.
Meanwhile, Lawrence’s candidature was announced on June 30, 2018, by party activist and Director of Sport, Christopher Jones, via his social media page.
Back in 2012, Lawrence had contested for the leadership of the party alongside then Opposition Leader and now President, David Granger, and current Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge.
Observers and political commentators have since outlined that the dynamics playing out within the PNC for the position of Chairman points to a faction.
In fact, Dr David Hinds who is an Executive member of the Working People’s Alliance, one of the parties inclusive of the PNC that make up A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), expressed his opinion publicly that the developments indicate a faction within the traditional party faithful that want Williams ousted from the chairmanship, possibly based on his performance.
Harmon’s entrance, he noted, indicates the presence of a newer, more coalition minded faction in the party.
“Two challengers to Basil Williams for Chairman, one can assume the general membership of the PNC may be dissatisfied with Williams’s tenure and they may be looking for someone new,” Hinds related.“In the last week, we’ve had Volda Lawrence throwing her hat into the race. I think that Lawrence and Williams are vying for the same kind of vote amongst PNC members. So it means (her) very entry into the race is an indication that that faction seems to think Williams is unable to win and so they turn to Lawrence.”
PNC’s congress to elect a new Chairperson is slated for August 17, 2018.