PNCR not serving national interests – longstanding member says upon resignation

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Longstanding People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) member Thandi McAllister, who has been with the party for decades and was a candidate at the last General and Regional Elections, has resigned from the party effective immediately.

According to McAllister’s letter of resignation, which is dated June 15, she is resigning from the Central Executive Committee of the PNCR and the Office of Regional Chairman. 

The letter was addressed to PNCR General Secretary Amna Ally. When contacted by this publication, Ally noted that she does not discuss the party’s business in public. According to her, no reason was provided by McAllister for the resignation.

But McAllister released a statement outlining exactly why she is walking away from the party after 25 years.

According to her, the PNCR leadership has departed from their responsibility to serve the interests of the nation, party supporters and the youths. 

“After very careful and agonizing consideration, I concluded that the present direction of the leadership is ill-suited to the fulfilment of the aspirations of young people in Guyana, the enhancement of the party’s supporters, and the advancement of the nation,” she said in her statement.  

She added that “in this connection, I can no longer accompany a process that, in my view, has departed from serving the interests of the many who reposed faith in the PNC/R to champion their causes, and to offer constructive pathways for the development of our beloved Guyana.” 

McAllister was elected to the PNCR Central Executive Committee (CEC) in 2018, at the last biennial congress. At present, the delay of the currently due biennial congress has been a contentious issue within the party. It even led to Congress Place being picketed by members of PNCR Leader David Granger’s own party earlier this year. 

The protesters demanded that he hold the congress so that the party could choose a leader. One placard, aimed at Granger and Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon had read “David and Joe, stop denying democracy in the PNC. Time for congress”.

Granger was returned unopposed as leader of the party at the last biennial congress in 2018. This time around, he is facing competition from a number of party stalwarts including Aubrey Norton and Richard Van West-Charles. However, the former President has cited the COVID-19 pandemic for the delay in holding the congress. 

He had said that the party is trying to work out the logistics of holding the congress, while at the same time ensuring social distancing. However, many other organisations have held virtual meetings using Zoom, which allows hundreds of participants.

Granger, who left office in August of last year after a five-month long election process, has been facing pressure from within the party and has suffered a sharp drop in popularity, over the loss of the 2020 General and Regional Elections after just one term in office. 

These divisions were exacerbated by the list of parliamentarians he picked to send to the 12th Parliament, after party stalwarts like Chairperson Volda Lawrence were excluded and the WPA was not consulted to name their candidate. WPA subsequently withdrew from the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition, following on the heels of the Justice For All Party (JFAP). Granger has also been denounced by individual members of the party, like one-time PNC parliamentarian James Bond. Bond has in fact labelled Granger’s leadership as “ineffective” and “mediocre”.

He has also been criticised by the PNCR diaspora group, who added their voices to calls for the former President to step down from leading the party. In a letter signed by Connie McGuire, Michael Bramford, George E, Lewis and the PNCR New York Diaspora group, they appealed to all PNC Executives, members and supporters to demand the resignations of Granger and other party leaders.

They noted that after working tirelessly to get Granger elected in 2015, the party made a series of missteps, failed to connect to supporters and side-lined young and dynamic leadership.