PNC General Secretary resigns 4 days before Congress

Dawn Hastings-Williams

The General Secretary of the Peoples National Congress (PNC) has resigned, just days away from the party’s 22nd Biennial Delegates Congress.

Dawn Hastings-Williams tendered her resignation with effect from June 24, citing among other things the lack of readiness for this weekend’s congress and concerns regarding financial accountability.

These were outlined by Hastings-Williams in a letter to the party’s leader, Aubrey Norton, on Monday.

“With all the administrative task that has to be undertaken by the secretariat, I believe that the one-month period for preparation for such a congress can lead to confusion rather than having a fair and transparent process and outcome,” the politician, who is also a former government minister, penned.

She also expressed concerns that as General Secretary, she was not being integrally involved in the preparations.

“I think that it is my duty as the General Secretary to be integrally involved in every aspect of the preparation for the Congress. However, that has not been happening in many instances. For example, invitations were sent out to persons without my knowledge and I don’t know under whose authorized signature other than the General Secretary of the Party. I found out when I began to send out a few written invitations and only to be told that they are already in receipt of an invitation. This, I see as a gross disrespect to my office,” Hastings-Williams contended.

Additionally, Hastings-Williams highlighted that she has received complaints from several groups and party members some in writing, that the records of the secretariat do not correspond with their previous submissions and that their membership register does not reflect their true membership.

She further revealed that many members also claim that they have been unable or will be unable to meet the short deadlines set for the submissi0n of the delegates and other information because of the short notice period for Congress.

“Consequently, I cannot substantiate or dismiss the accuracy of these claims especially when it was only Friday 21st June, the updated but not quite completed General Membership Register was handed over to the Administrator. Hence the need for corrections and changes will have to be done between the current time and the date of the Congress,” she outlined.

In fact, she highlighted an instance whereby someone from a group in the USA visited her office to enquire about the reason why membership cards were not being printed.

“…and we both entered the Membership Department to examine the computer and the other equipment so as to determine what was the pending issue and to see whether he can assist in any way to get the membership matter addressed. Not even five minutes past when the Leader called him to ask why was he questioning a junior staff about membership. The expression on the Comrades face and the tone of his voice told me that something was not right. I never felt so humiliated after that incident,” the politician expressed.

“I felt as if I was being watched and monitored. In fact, this was actually the second time I felt humiliated after being locked out at the gate where canters and cars were used to block my vehicle from entering to pick me up to take me home from work,” she revealed.
Hastings-Williams also reflected that during her time as GS, which lasted for over a year, she was unable to present any financial statement to the Central Executive Committee.

“Reason simply being that I have no access to the weekly or monthly income and expenditure statement. I had requested of the accountant last December to prepare and produce a financial statement for the year 2023 so as to present it to the CEC. When I called for the statement to be handed in to me the accountant said that she had completed the statement as was instructed by me but was told not to hand it over to me but to put in on hold.”

Moreover, Hastings-Williams contended that “Congress Place at present is not conducive to working especially when you have someone shouting and threatening staff that they will be sent home.”

The PNC’s congress is set for this weekend, commencing Friday, June 28.