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Leader of the Opposition, People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), Mr. Aubrey Norton, at a Working People’s Alliance (WPA) meeting last Thursday, said the PNCR will contest its strongholds at the Local Government Elections (LGE), due June 12.
His response came in the wake of WPA executive member, Mr. Tacuma Ogunseye, calling for LGE to be “a day of national resistance and African uprising.”
Norton said while he is not opposed to the WPA’s proposed day of resistance, it was important for the opposition to maintain representation in its strongholds.
He told the gathering, “we can take two approaches. I agree with a day of resistance, but I do not agree we should leave Buxton-Foulis NDC (Neighbourhood Council) in the hands of the PPP. I’m not going to agree with that.”
Further, he said, the opposition would not cede its strongholds such as Georgetown, Linden and New Amsterdam, to the PPP/C.
At the meeting, Ogunseye said the WPA “wants to make it clear that the Local Government Elections offer us a good opportunity to start the resistance.”
He shared the view the opposition parties should not spend money and deploy persons to contest the LGE because the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is dominated by the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) and will rig the elections.
“We in the Working People’s Alliance wish to suggest to you, and we will suggest this formally to our opposition partners, that instead of mobilising to participate in the elections on election day, we mobilise to turn (LGE) as a day of national resistance and African uprising,” Ogunseye told the audience.
Political commentators told this publication the opposition, particularly the PNCR, must contest in every area. “In our PR [Proportional Representation] system every vote count, based on the votes the party will be allocated seats, and the PNCR should fight for every seat, in every district.”
Another commentator said the two major parties in Guyana are the PNCR and PPP/C and the PNCR should not cede its political space without a fight.
The PNCR leader seems more interested in the strongholds, said one commentator, who questioned the wisdom of not wanting to take a seat or two away from the PPP/C or make the numbers higher to get a seat.
The commentator, who expressed disappointment with the situation, said it sounds like political cowardice not strategy.
Said commentator warned of the societal danger of not having a strong opposition and said he hopes Mr. Norton would rethink the party’s position of only seeking to defend its strongholds and not seeking to maintain the influence the party has in every area regardless of how small that influence may be.
Norton told the meeting “We have said whatever means we use; we will not allow the PPP to control our strongholds…We will do everything to ensure that they do not succeed while at the same time resisting them.”