Accused of acting outside his authority by suspending Vanessa Kissoon, PNCR leader David Granger yesterday maintained that his actions were within his powers.
At a news conference yesterday, Granger said that who issued the suspension was not the main issue but the nature of actions by members.
He added that nonetheless the Central Executive Committee of the party confirmed his actions by giving support. “I know what my powers are and I have always behaved in accordance with the constitution,” he said.
The PNCR on Thursday broke its silence on allegations by Kissoon that she was being unfairly treated after an altercation with party General Secretary Oscar Clarke at Congress Place, Sophia, on June 20th. Kissoon said that she was informed by Granger of her suspension via e-mail on June 24th, a day before a meeting of the Central Executive Committee. But Kissoon and supporters in Region 10 say Granger had no authority to suspend her prior to the meeting of the Central Executive Com-mittee, as “the rules of the party are clear that discipline falls within the purview of stipulated Disciplinary Authorities of which the Leader is not one.”
According to the party, differences over the Central Executive Committee’s decision to appoint a Coordinator of Region 10 led to the altercation between Kissoon and Clarke.
Granger yesterday said he would have preferred that Kissoon settle matters internally instead of going to the media.
“I would prefer that Ms Kissoon’s correspondence be sent directly to party officials… it would be imprudent to distribute party documents to the media before the matter is determined,” he noted.
Granger stressed that while the reprimand of Kissoon for giving party documents to the press was not contemplated, he feels the issue should be settled within the party. “The issue before us at present it is not something that is be settled in the media but to be settled in accordance before the disciplinary committee,” he stated.
In a June 30 letter, 119 party members in Region 10 said the decision to suspend Kissoon was personal and part of the continued “consistent and sustained assault” on the region.
The members argue that Kissoon and other party members raised concerns when the party appointed Sandra Adams as Coordinator for the region without any input or consultation by the elected representatives in the region and they blamed this for her alleged victimisation.
“Regional party members stand united in support for and respect for the Party Constitution which details the procedure for discipline. We also stand united in the [belief] that Ms Kissoon’s rights are being denied and that she is being unduly targeted as a leader in this region,” the letter said. “We are also cognizant that internal elections are due and that these attacks may be orchestrated to undermine Regional activities geared towards selecting the party executive,” it added.
Meanwhile, Kissoon has stated that she has yet to receive correspondence from the Central Executive Committee on her suspension, noting that her communication was with Granger himself.
Correspondence ob-tained by Stabroek News revealed that following the incident at Congress Place, longstanding party member John Yates, who was not present during the altercation, wrote a letter on June 21st to Granger and others recommending that action be taken against Kissoon.
He stated that “several disrespectful actions against the leadership of the Party by a selected few” have been ongoing since the decision was made to appoint the Regional Coordinator. Yates stated that “I am of the view that these incidents are being done to create division within the Party something which we can least afford with possible local government or National Elections in the near future.”