PNCR Congress faces possible postponement

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…CEC to decide the way forward following systems review of by Alexander

The highly anticipated People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) 21st Biennial Delegates Congress slated for December 11 is at risk of being postponed over concerns that the requisite preparatory work will not be completed in time for the event.

According to reports reaching the Village Voice Newspaper, the Central Executive Committee (CEC), at a meeting on Friday, agreed to have Vincent Alexander – the appointed Chief Elections Officer – conduct a review to determine whether all systems are in place to facilitate a free, fair and transparent election.

It is during the congress that Delegates will elect their next Leader, Chairman, Vice Chairmen, Treasurer and Executive Members to sit on the CEC, however, as a result of the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it will be decentralized and hybrid.

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At Friday’s meeting, PNCR Vice-Chairperson Anette Ferguson, who has publicly endorsed Joseph Harmon to be the next Leader of the party, moved a motion for the 21st Biennial Delegates Congress to be postponed.

However, after much debate, the motion was amended to have Alexander review the systems expected to be in place for the Congress. Alexander has been given a period of five days – December 4-8 – to compile his report. In that report, he will indicate whether the anticipated elections, which form a major part of the congress, will be free, fair and credible, should it be held on December 11.

Once Alexander is satisfied with the systems in place, the Congress will be held, however, should he object, it will be postponed until March 2022. It is believed that Team Harmon is setting the stage for an injunction.

“Many of the groups believe that they have not been allocated the right number of delegates,” a source told this newspaper, while explaining that groups within the 11 geographical locations are not entirely satisfied that the necessary systems are in place to successful host the congress virtually.

Another source shared a similar view. “Members are of the opinion that the PNCR is in no position to hold Congress on December 11, 2021 – there is still much to be done,” the source said.

It was explained that Ferguson had tabled the motion more than one week ago, however, the CEC agreed that it should first hear from the various sub-committees before a determination is made to put the motion to a vote. Sub-committees, Village Voice News was told, were required to submit their reports, and they so complied.

At Friday’s meeting, those reports were discussed. According to the source, they revealed various levels of preparedness. The source pointed out that at the time, the Chairman of the Electoral Committee, Winston Felix, indicated that 80% of the preparatory work had been completed while the Accreditation Committee, chaired by Mortimer Mingo, has a single member – the Chairman.

“Some of the Executives are of the opinion that 80% is not at all satisfactory. The other sub-committees have completed about 60-70% of their work, and that too is unsatisfactory,” the source said.

According to the source, there was no clear indication when the Accreditation Committee will receive additional human resource.

The Committee was left with a single member after Carol Smith-Joseph, Annette Ferguson and Ganesh Mahipaul – withdrew their membership on December 1 following concerns about conflict of interest.

“The CEC, while recognizing the right of Delegates to support candidates of their choice, reasoned that a conflict of interest arose where members of the Accreditation Committee, which is responsible for selecting the Delegates who would be voting for candidates, are at the same time openly campaigning for candidates of their choice,” PNCR explained in a statement on December 2.

In that statement, the PNCR indicated that Ferguson, Smith-Joseph and Mahipaul’s withdrawal from the Accreditation Committee will not affect the work of the Committee. According to the PNCR, the work of the Accreditation Committee “is significantly advanced.”

Aubrey Norton, Joseph Harmon, Richard Van West-Charles, and Basil Williams among seven persons nominated for the leadership of the PNCR. Volda Lawrence, Carl Greenidge and Sharma Solomon were also nominated for the post, however, it is unclear whether they have accepted those nominations.

Should Alexander give the greenlight, the 21st Biennial Congress will commence on the morning of Saturday December 11 with an opening ceremony, which will include an address by the outgoing Leader, Brigadier David Granger. The election of Party Officers and members of the Central Executive Committee will also be conducted the very day.



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