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—-Norton to meet Harmon next week on issue
The Central Executive of the People’s National Congress Reform at its first meeting on Thursday voted for the new party leader, Aubrey Norton to take over the reigns as Leader of the Opposition.
Norton told a news conference Friday morning that he intends to meet with the current LOO, Joseph Harmon to discuss the matter. For Norton to take over from Harmon one of the APNU+AFC leaders would have to resign as a Member of Parliament or conversely Harmon himself could be recalled. However, given that former President David Granger is still legally the leader of the list it is not clear how the process will move forward.
Since his election to the office of leader, there have been calls for Norton to take over as the Leader of the Opposition. Norton during his campaign for leadership was confronted with a number of important questions, among them, whether he will seek to have Harmon recall, should he be elected Leader of the PNCR.
In response, Norton had said he will cross that bridge when he gets there but his immediate focus is on becoming the next Leader of the PNCR. However, he said his future decision, should he be elected, would be influenced by the masses. “For me, the immediate task is to become leader of the party, and when I become leader of the party I will listen to the popular views of the people, in the party and out of the party, and I will act in keeping with their issues,” Norton had said then.
The Political Scientist, who once served as General Secretary of the PNCR, said the party’s Constitution is silent on the issue. It was Harmon, who in his bid to be Leader of the PNCR, told reporters on Nominations Day that the Leader of the Party and the Leader of the Opposition should be a single person. In support of his argument, he pointed out that when Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham served as President of Guyana, he was also Leader of the PNCR. Similarly, he said when Desmond Hoyte served as President and later Opposition Leader he was also Leader of the PNCR. He noted that the situation was the same for Robert Corbin, who served as Opposition Leader, and former President David Granger. “I think there is a pattern of these two positions merging. I am the Leader of the Opposition now but I am not the Leader of the Party, and so what we are aiming to do with these elections is to basically bring those two positions, so we could have that strength and that power to go forward,” Harmon explained.