Overcome with emotions on being elected as the new Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform, Aubrey Norton has promised to not only take the party back to the grassroots but to ensure the representation of all the people of Guyana, from all ethnicities.
“I want to promise you that I will make this party, a grassroots party, a party for all Guyanese and of all ethnic groups. It is the kind of party we desire. I want to work with this executive to transform this party into a permanent election campaign machinery. I must submit to you, that it is the first time in a long time that I am being overwhelmed. I believe the party has put trust in me and I hope to deliver on it”, Norton said.
The new PNC Leader also announced that in keeping with the party’s constitution, he has asked former Chairman Volda Lawrence and longtime member Dr. Richard VanWest-Charles to serve as Advisors to the party. He said both have accepted. Mr. Norton also stated that he will be working along with the current Opposition Leader Joe Harmon on issues related to moving the party forward and developing it.
Norton won the race for PNC Leader by a landslide, winning 13 of the 14 voting districts at the elections and amassing a total of 967 votes. His closest rival for the position was Joe Harmon who was far behind with 245 votes.
The new PNC Leader said he intends to govern the party with all of its members including those who competed against him at the elections. He said the elections are over and the party with a united membership must move forward.
“This is our party, the elections are over and we must move forward”, he said to loud applause from members who gathered at the party’s headquarters for the declaration of the final results.
Mr. Norton said as the party begins its new course under new leadership, it will confront the struggles already facing it.
“We have to carry the political struggle and our first struggle will be for a new voters list. We cannot go to an election without a new voters list. It has been a basis by which a government was installed and we have to uninstall them and that process must begin with. a new voters list”.
Norton also said the party will be fighting against any attempt by the Government to change the boundaries of Region 4 for election purposes.
He also made it clear that the party will continue to make its opposition known against the decision by the Elections Commission to hire Vishnu Persaud as the new Chief Election Officer. Norton said Persaud was not the most qualified or experienced of the candidates who applied for the job.
The new PNC Leader said there are a number of other issues that will be addressed by the party in the coming days and early into the new year. He brushed aside criticism of him from the governing PPP and accused that party of being divisive in its governance.
The PNC Elections on Saturday also saw the election of a new Chairman. Young Member of Parliament Shurwayne Holder from Region 2 has been elected as Chairman while Faiaz Mursalene takes over as Treasurer. The party’s constitution has provisions for two vice-chairpersons. While party member Elizabeth Williams-Niles has been elected as one of the Vice-Chairpersons, the party will have to decide on the way to break a tie for the other Vice-Chairperson spot.
The party’s Central Executive Committee will see a mixture of some old and new faces with many first-time parliamentarians gaining ground in the party.