On the eve of the opening of the 19th Biennial Congress of the People’s National Congress, Minister of State Joe Harmon has declined the nomination for the position of Vice Chairman of the party.
The PNC Reform is the largest party in the coalition government and the party’s membership has seen significant increase since the coalition government took office last year.
In a statement on his Facebook page, Mr. Harmon said though he is humbled by those who nominated him to contest the position of Vice Chairman, he “respectfully declines this nomination”.
He said his current portfolio in government as the Minister of State requires that he dedicates his full time to matters of the coalition government “and thus he would be unable to give the attention required to the position of Vice Chairman of the PNCR.”
Harmon said he remains humbled by the confidence which those who nominated him have reposed in him and he would like the members of the PNCR to know that he will continue to serve their interest in the party at other levels of party engagement.
The PNC Reform has two Vice Chairman positions as part of its executive. The current Vice Chairpersons are Volda Lawrence and Dr. George Norton. Both hold senior Ministerial positions in the government.
Both Lawrence and Norton have been nominated for the same positions, with Ms. Lawrence picking up an additional nomination to challenge Party Chairman, Basil Williams for that position.
With Harmon now out of the race for party Vice Chairman, former Member of Parliament, James Bond may now have a better shot for the position.
Bond, who holds no government position, has been campaigning among the party’s youth membership for their votes since being nominated to run for the position.
He has made it clear that there is a need for more youth representation on party’s executive. When the Congress opens on Friday afternoon, President David Granger will walk in unchallenged for the position of Party Leader.
It will also mark the first time in over two decades that the Leader of the People’s National Congress is the sitting President of Guyana.