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…endorses Aubrey Norton for Leader of the PNCR
Prominent Guyanese Geotechnical Engineer, Charles Ceres, on Sunday, endorsed Political Scientist Aubrey Norton to be the next Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) but not before roasting the Leader of the Opposition, Joseph Harmon, and former Attorney General, Basil Williams, for mismanaging the country’s resources while serving under the David Granger Administration. He said too that Granger was all too concerned about the “colonial trappings of the office’ that he neglected the proper management of the country.
“The recent correct indictment of former Finance Minister Winston Jordan is an indictment against both Joseph Harmon and Basil Williams. Joseph Harmon and Basil Williams are both attorneys. Harmon was the de facto leader while David Granger focused on the colonial trappings of office. Harmon failed to represent the interest of the State, since he was part the Cabinet which allowed the gifting of valuable state asset on the Demerara River waterfront to BK International. Basil Williams as the attorney for the state has equal responsibility for not ensuring adherence to minimum standards of care for state resources,” Ceres said as he made his case against the two politicians on Sunday.
Though not a member, Ceres said his assessment of those vying for the leadership of the PNCR comes in light of several requests by members of the party for him to identify the person best qualified for the position.
Williams, who had initially signaled his intention to contest for the Leadership of the PNCR, dropped out of the race on Saturday, leaving Harmon, Norton and Dr. Richard Van West-Charles, another Executive Member.
Ceres, in offering his assessment, posited that the ability of anyone to lead is influenced by past actions. “These actions are particularly important when individuals were provided with responsibility to lead in the past and are exacerbated by the results of those actions,” he reasoned.
Alluding to the sale of the Mudflat at KingstonBK International, Ceres said the actions of Harmon and Williams cannot be dismissed when payments, withheld by the PPP Government, to BK International, for the Haags Bosch landfill, were made without allowing the courts to examine the merits of the case.
He was also keen on pointing out that the principal owner of BK International was on stage with Janet Jagan when the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) launched their election campaign at Kitty Market Square in 1997.
Citing another case, Ceres pointed to the country’s Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) with U.S oil giant, ExxonMobil, which was modified under the Granger Administration. That agreement, he said, has significantly disadvantaged future generations of Guyanese.
“That agreement confirms their inability to understand the concept of nation building. Williams had responsibility to ensure the adherence of all state agencies to the laws of the land. He took no steps during his tenure to ensure the Environmental Protection Agency adhered to the Environmental Protection Act of 1996 and its amendments significantly contributing to the current state of affairs at that agency,” Ceres argued.
He added: “Harmon’s inability to recognize the concept of nation building is exacerbated by his swearing allegiance to the United States to become a US citizen. He, an attorney, sat is parliament for more than five years fully aware that he was breaking the law. He is not smart enough to know that the framers of US constitution enshrined the three-fifths clause in the Constitution, to which he swore allegiance, which set the census value of an African person as 60 percent of the value of a free person. He willingly swore allegiance to a constitution with this clause enshrined which confirms his inability to analyze the consequences of his action.”
Now in opposition, Ceres said, Harmon has failed to remind the PPP of its 2020 election manifesto which promised a 50% salary increases, renegotiation of the ExxonMobil Contract and creation of 50,000 jobs.
Further, he said both Harmon and Williams, served as advisers to Granger, when he boldly declared “all lives matter”.
“They, like David Granger, lack comprehension of the African condition in Guyana. I ask Granger, Harmon and Williams how can all lives matter when black lives do not matter? The PPP has boldly chastised them for failing to empower “their fellowship”.”
He warned that should either of them be elected, there will be a continuation of “CheddiJagan’s doctrine that ‘black people are at the bottom of the ladder.’”
Contending that Harmon and Williams do not understand the concept of nation building, Ceres said they have failed to empower the African Guyanese members of the PNCR. He said the duo, like the current Leader, David Granger and General Secretary Amna Ali, have failed to correct the injustices against Afro-Guyanese who have been by the PPP/C.
“They never said to Granger that all lives cannot matter when the current level of disparity exists between African Guyanese who were enslaved to build Guyana and other Guyanese who are enabled by the state. In contrast several individuals seeking leadership rush to defend the actions of Winston Jordan who gifted state resources to BK International,” he reasoned.
He said unlike Harmon and Williams, Norton spent his entire life in the service of Guyana.
“Unlike Richard Van West Charles he did not accept a job which moved him away from Guyana. He has steadfastly worked to advance his community and provided guidance to young people who represent the future of Guyana,” Ceres contended.
According to him, Norton served with distinction as a parliamentarian but was sidelined by the Granger Administration due to his proactive stance.
“Aubrey Norton represents the generation of Guyanese who will assert our right over our resources and destiny. Aubrey Norton has acknowledged that all segments are Guyana’s society are equally important as demonstrated by his support for an Indian Guyanese, Winston Murray, to lead the PNC. All others, vying for the position of PNC leader were provided opportunities to contribute to nation building in the past and failed.
Aubrey Norton represents the best and last hope of equality for all in Guyana. I therefore unreservedly endorse him as the person best suited to lead the PNC,” Ceres submitted.