The theme song for the PNC’s 18th Biennial Congress is titled “Unity”, but from the demeanor of some of the party’s members on the last day of the three-day Congress, new efforts might be needed to accomplish that unity.
Region 10 Chairman Sharma Solomon and former PNC General Secretary Aubrey Norton both pulled out of the race for Leader of the Party on Sunday claiming that they were dissatisfied with the process that was in place to ensure all delegates were allowed to vote. Solomon said although he sits on the Central Committee of the party and was a contender for the position of Leader, there was no delegate card for him to attend the Congress when he turned up on Sunday morning. He said the situation was the same for many of his supporters from the mining community of Linden.
“I have expressed that I have no confidence in the process. In fact, take a look, I am probably the only one that is not decked out with a delegate card”, Solomon told reporters outside Congress Place.
He said he has been following the process for the entire week and raised several concerns with the party’s General Secretary. He said he was surprised that many of his concerns were not addressed on the morning of the elections, despite several promises from the General Secretary.
The Region 10 Chairman said he was also disappointed that the accreditation committee which is chaired by General Secretary Oscar Clarke, only had one meeting in the lead up to the congress. He believes the lack of work by the committee may have contributed to many of the problems that popped up during the congress.
Aubrey Norton who once served as the General Secretary of the People’s National Congress told News Source that it was time for the current General Secretary, Oscar Clarke, to call it a day. Norton said that Clarke has shown nothing more than “incompetence” with his management of the election process and the events that led to the congress.
According to Clarke, he decided to withdraw as a candidate for the Leader of the party because he too has lost confidence in the system that was in place for the elections. He said he is too disturbed by the process and the problems at the Congress that he is now contemplating walking away from the PNC all together and focus on other things.
He said he has no plans to join the PPP or AFC but will reassess his political life in Guyana. Norton said “I told them that I cannot participate in a process that is obviously flawed and that for days we have been trying to solve the problems for Region 10 delegates”.
Norton and Solomon along with their supporters from Region 10, walked out of the Congress to hold a roadside press briefing to express their frustrations.
When asked if he decided to withdraw from the race because defeat was facing him, Norton said “well if they feel that I would have ultimately lost because the process was flawed, then they are correct”. But he said that if it was dependent on the genuine support of the party’s people, he does not see how he could have lost the elections.
Meanwhile, while Solomon voiced concerns about his delegate card not being made available, his fellow Regional representative and APNU member of Parliament Vanessa Kissoon was presented with her delegate card and therefore was allowed to participate in the Congress although she is supposed to be on suspension from all party activities because of a confrontation last month between herself and the party’s General Secretary. Kissoon said she will remain as the representative of the people of Linden in the National Assembly but could not say if the issues surrounding her suspension had been ironed out.