Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
Sunday Demerara Waves broke the story that former People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Treasurer, Mr. Faaiz Mursaline, wrote a letter to the members of the party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) detailing reasons for his resignation.
That letter, dated December 31,2022, subsequently seen by Village Voice, outlined a myriad of complaints that occasioned the resignation, including absence of financial accountability by party Leader, Mr. Aubrey Norton, and allegation of racial hostility by a well-known senior party member of African extraction towards East Indian party members.
Mursaline, who resigned from the position last month, told Village Voice he stands by every word in his letter to the CEC, and his letter was intended to set the record straight about the reasons for his resignation after several misstatements were being peddled to the public.
His letter stated: –
i. he was always called to sign blank cheques with no supporting documents and whenever he expressed concerns about the modus operandi he was met with hostility;
ii. in November, the situation got worse where he was asked “to sign 20 blank cheques,” and was unaware of the amount of money written on the cheques, and also unaware of the reason(s) the money was used for;
iii. his request for an audit of the party’s finances to ensure proper accountability and transparency was ignored;
iv. also ignored was the recommendation to utilise the accounting experience of a former senior minister, former CEC member, Chairperson of the Party’s women arm (National Congress of Women) and advisor to the Party Leader, Ms Volda Lawrence. Mursaline said he was advised her input would constitute a “conflict of interest.”
Respected sources within and out of the Party, when contacted, said they see no conflict of interest in Lawrence assisting the party in streamlining its finances. According to one source her input could have resulted in establishing a standard practice that would guide the party’s financial operations.
Norton told Demerara Waves he is unaware of the signing of blank cheques by the former treasurer. However, the former treasurer told this publication Norton’s statement is untrue.
This publication was reliably informed that the signatories of cheques in the Party are the Leader, General Secretary and Treasurer. Any two can sign cheques. The General Secretary, Ms. Geeta Chandan-Edmond, was on leave from August/September and resigned last month without returning to the post.
This publication has also seen Mursaline’s proposed Work Plan addressing how the Party could raise money for its operation, including proposed names to function on the Finance Committee.
Mursaline said a report carried in a newscast that a senior official in the party claimed he was not up to the task which led to his resignation is untrue. The assertion, he said, prompted his letter to the CEC in order that they could hear from him the reason for his resignation. Mursaline claims he has reason to believe that he knows who that person is. According to him, having outlined the situation “I’ve come to the conclusion, for my own integrity and the well-being of our party that it is necessary for me to bring to the attention of the CEC reasons for my resignation.”
His letter also addressed allegations of racial hostility. Mursaline, proudly declaring, he “is a born PNC” said the behavior of this senior official [named provided] is hurting the image of the party and concerns raised about her conduct remain unaddressed.
Norton, asked repeatedly by the media about allegations of practicing or tolerating racism, has always denied the accusations. In his defense he has repeatedly pointed to his vocal support for Winston Murray’s leadership of the party. Murray, of East Indian extraction, died November 10, 2010 after a brief illness and before the party’s election.
However, sources who know Norton said whilst they do not believe he is a racist, they feel he must deal with this newly, high ranking individual who displays unbecoming and intimidating behaviour, and is creating tension in the party which serves neither him nor the party well. Others see her as a threat to party unity and new members.
Meanwhile Mursaline told Demerara Waves “the PNC is not a racist party; it’s the individual…in the party.”
In his letter to the CEC members, he stated “I continue to love the PNCR with all my heart but I cannot continue to serve under the current circumstance. My apologies to all.”
He told this publication the PNCR under Norton’s leadership is like ‘a one-man show’ and expressed concerns that the party cannot function properly if the leader cannot take ideas and opinions from others. “If you are not doing that it can’t work. The PNC is not a one-man party.” Further, he stated Norton may want to defend himself and his integrity but according to Mursaline the current leadership has to change.