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…over 100 candidates to vie for top positions
By Svetlana Marshall
All is set for the highly anticipated People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) 21ST Biennial Delegates Congress on Saturday, so says its Chief Elections Officer, Vincent Alexander.
Addressing the press alongside PNCR’s acting Leader Volda Lawrence, and aspiring Leaders – Joseph Harmon, Aubrey Norton and Dr. Richard Van West-Charles – Alexander detailed that approximately 100 candidates will be vying for positions ranging from Leader, Chairperson, Vice-Chairpersons, Treasurer to Central Executive Members.
At 13 polling stations spread across Guyana and North America, some 3,000 delegates are expected to vote from 11:00hrs to 19:00hrs on Saturday, December 18, 2021.
“The voters’ list has been prepared after much scrutiny by the stakeholders. The elections machinery has been established, oiled and activated with the concurrence of and under the oversight of all of the stakeholders, including the elders who have of their wisdom in helping to guide the process to a successful and gratifying culmination,” Alexander told reporters at Legacy House, South Ruimveldt.
David Granger – the incumbent Leader – will not be present, as he is currently attending to his health. The congress this time around, undoubtedly will see a change in guard as Granger is not seeking reelection.
“On one hand, the incumbent Leader will not be seeking reelection and every other tier of leadership will see relatively young and new blood vying for positions. We are literally witnessing the seamless transitioning of the party’s leadership. This transitioning has also brought with it a noticeable high tide and surge of democratic practices,” Alexander said.
Routinely, the Congress should have been convened in April, however, due to challenges posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic it was pushed to the end of the year. Initially, it was scheduled for December 11, however, Alexander, after reviewing the systems required for a smooth, free and fair election, advised that there be a one-week delay.
On Thursday, he reported that the necessary systems are in place. “The entire body of delegates will congregate on a virtual platform, which will link 13 venues, across the country and the North American Region of the Party, for the business session. Such a gathering is unprecedented in Guyana. The PNCR, in the face of adversity has scored another first by defying the naysayers and the odds in making this Congress possible,” the CEO said.
Lawrence, the substantive Chairman, said the Congress was called from “the bottom up,” and she’s pleased that notwithstanding the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the PNCR has been able to devise a strategy that would allow for the convening of Congress in a safe environment.
“In me there is an excitement knowing that we have been able to beat all odds, and reach to this stage,” Lawrence said.
As Chairman, executing the functions of the Leader, Lawrence said she has been working closely with the Central Executive Committee (CEC) to oversee the process, and offer much needed advice and guidance where necessary.
Lawrence said even after the Congress has ended, she will continue to offer her support. “After Saturday, I will continue to be a member of the People’s National Congress Reform, and continue to work wherever I can. I still hold the hat of the Chair of the Georgetown District and the Chair of the National Congress of Women; so I still have a lot of work to do. But I think more importantly is to give service to the people of my party and the people of Guyana,” she said.