PNC/R ready for new leadership – Lawrence at opening of 21st Congress

Outgoing PNCR Chairwoman Volda Lawrence

The People’s National Congress/Reform’s (PNC/R) 21st Biennial Congress opened today with incumbent Chairperson, Volda Lawrence, declaring the party ready for new leadership.

Congress is being held under the theme, “Learning from the Past, Conquering the Future Together.”

During her address at the opening ceremony, which was held virtually, Lawrence spoke about the party’s boldness and its decision to open the nomination process to the entire country.

“We are a bold party and not afraid of challenges, wherever they may confront us… we even opened our nomination process to the entire country… today, our Congress strikes a new path.”

Lawrence also said that dialogue and debate is good for the party, allowing for participation at all levels. She added too that the number of youths seeking senior positions in the party is heartening.

Lawrence, who was nominated for leadership of the party but turned it down, also confirmed that she is not contesting any position at the party level. This includes her incumbent Chairmanship of the party.

“I am happy for the many years of service. And I thank you the membership. Unfortunately, I will not be contesting at these elections. But I remain committed to the PNC/R.”

One of the polling stations set up in Region 10 for the PNCR 21st Biennial Congress

The PNC’s Congress 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.

In fact, Granger is not even attending the Congress, having left the country on Tuesday to go to Cuba as he “attends to matters of his health”, the party said in a statement earlier this week.

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

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.

On Friday, the PNC said that Congress will be for delegates only, decentralised, and hybrid and will be conducted over one day at Party Congress Houses and approved venues in the respective region and the North American Region (NAR).

There will be live streaming on the Facebook Pages and YouTube Channel of the PNCR, APNU Guyana, APNUAFC and all Facebook Pages of the Opposition Members of Parliament.

Additionally, the party said updates will be made available every two hours, thereafter, on the conducting of the election process. At the end of day, an announcement of the Election Results will be made available via a Press Briefing by the Chief Elections Officer, Mr. Vincent Alexander, who has reassured on Thursday that the process will be a transparent one.