Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform and Chairman of A Partnership for National Unity, Aubrey Norton is set to become the country’s new Leader of the Opposition as he inches closer to becoming a Member of Parliament.
Representative of the List for the APNU+AFC, former President David Granger has written to the Chief Elections Officer, Vishnu Persaud, requesting that he extracts the names of PNCR Leader, Aubrey Norton, and Former Party Chairperson Volda Lawrence from the coalition’s list to become new Members of the National Assembly.
The two will replace former Opposition Leader Joe Harmon and Opposition member Nicolette Henry, who both resigned in the month of March.
Mr. Granger said it was only yesterday afternoon that he received a correspondence which was signed by APNU Chairman Aubrey Norton and AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan informing him that consultations were held and two names were sent to him for extraction.
“In this regard, as required by Section 99(A) of the Representation of the People Act. Cap. 1:03, I inform you that Mr. Aubrey C. Norton and Ms. Volda Ann Lawrence of the APNU+AFC have been extracted from the List of Candidates to fill these vacancies. I would be grateful for the necessary instruments to be issued, accordingly,” Mr. Granger requested of GECOM.
Last week, Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir triggered the process by advising Mr. Granger of the two vacant positions following the two resignations.
Although Mr. Harmon’s seat became vacant on March 15, the process to process to replace him only took effect when the resignation of Nicolette Henry took effect on the 31st of March.
The Guyana Elections Commission is now expected to inform the Speaker of the National Assembly of the decision to have Mr. Norton and Ms. Lawrence take up the vacant seats and both are expected to take up their positions at the next sitting of the National Assembly.
No date has been set for a parliamentary sitting as yet. The Government will have to set that date. There has been no sitting of the National Assembly in almost two months. The Opposition has already complained that the Government is being deliberate in not setting parliamentary sitting dates.
Norton was earmarked for a seat in Parliament and the position of Opposition Leader just after he won a landslide victory at the PNC’s internal leadership elections.
Harmon who was whipped badly into second place attempted to hold on to the position of Opposition Leader but eventually resigned from the post before packing his bags and heading out of the National Assembly altogether.
He has however indicated that he remains a member of the People’s National Congress Reform and will continue to support and lend support to the party as a member.
Norton wanted longtime party executive Carl Greenidge to join him in Parliament to focus on economic and financial issues. However, Mr. Greenidge declined the position as he is currently one of Guyana’s Agents in the border case with Venezuela that is before the International Court.
Although both Norton and Lawrence are long-standing and well-respected members of the PNC which is the largest party in the APNU+AFC Coalition, they were both left off of the initial party list for parliament following the 2020 elections.
Former President David Granger was Party Leader at that time and Mr. Harmon was the General Secretary of the APNU.
Granger remains the Representative of the party’s 2020 election candidates list.