Big guns face off over Chair, Vice Chair posts

first_img…Granger unopposed for LeaderAhead of its congress, nominations for several top positions within the People’s National Congress (PNC) party were announced on Tuesday to help define the line-up of contenders as the race heats up.According to PNC General Secretary Amna Ally at a press conference on Tuesday, incumbent Chairman Basil Williams, Vice Chairman Volda Lawrence and Executive member Joseph Harmon remain contenders for the chairmanship; and there are eight nominees.When it comes to vice chairmanship, there are Volda Lawrence; Joseph Harmon; Director of Sport, Christopher Jones; Social Cohesion Minister Dr George Norton; Junior Public Infrastructure Minister Annette Ferguson; former PNC Parliamentarian James Bond; Citizenship Minister Winston Felix, and overseas-based Cosbert Roberts. No one has however dared to challenge incumbent party leader David Granger for the party leadership post. Asked to account for the proliferation of old and familiar names in the nomination pool, Ally insisted any party member could run.“We welcome new faces; we welcome younger faces… Anybody! We don’t have a barrier whether we want old and experienced people, or young and new. Once you’re a member of the party, you are qualified…you can run for any position,” she said.The nomination process, however, is a daunting one for such new faces. Explaining the process, Ally noted that an accreditation committee would eventually be combing over the list of nominees to ensure they are ‘fit and proper.’“For example, in the regions, if they are accustomed to ten faces, they might only nominate ten people. The process is, after we would have received the nominations, the accreditation committee will verify whether these are fit and proper people; whether they would have satisfied the membership criteria and (are) eligible for election,” explained Ally“These things are based on our party’s constitution,” the long-time PNC member added. “After that happens, the returning officer takes over with the list of nominees, and he will conduct the elections.”The raceOn June 21, 2018, longstanding party stalwart, State Minister Joseph Harmon, announced his candidacy in a short statement. He had disclosed that the PNC holds its Congress biennially, at which time all positions of leadership (inclusive of Party Leader and Central Executives) are up for voting.This announcement was made days after the PNC had held its second General Council Meeting for the year, on June 16.Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence’s candidature was announced on June 30, 2018 by party activist Christopher Jones, Director of Sport, via his social media page.Back in 2012, Lawrence had contested for the leadership of the party alongside then Opposition Leader and now President, David Granger, and current Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge.Observers and political commentators have since outlined that the dynamics playing out within the PNC for the position of Chairman point to the existence of factions within the party.In fact, Dr David Hinds, an executive member of the Working People’s Alliance, one of the parties that make up A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), expressed his opinion publicly that the developments indicate that a faction within the traditional party faithful want Williams ousted from the chairmanship, possibly based on his performance.Harmon’s entrance, he noted, indicates the presence of a newer, more coalition-minded faction in the party.“Two challengers to Basil Williams for (chairmanship) of the party, one can assume the general membership of the PNC may be dissatisfied with Williams’s tenure, and they may be looking for someone new,” Hinds related.“In the last week, we’ve had Volda Lawrence throwing her hat into the race. I think that Lawrence and Williams are vying for the same kind of vote amongst PNC members. So it means (her) very entry into the race is an indication that that faction seems to think Williams is unable to win, and so they turn to Lawrence,” Hinds said.The PNC’s Biennial Delegates Congress to elect persons to these new posts is slated for August 17-19, 2018.last_img read more

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