Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) David Granger is adamant that there is no ulterior motives as regards the recent suspension of party member Vanessa Kissoon.
The PNCR will be hosting its 18th Biennial Congress from July 25-27 but Granger yesterday would not say if the party’s Disciplinary Committee would come to a decision regarding Kissoon’s suspension by that time. He said that if the committee does not make a decision by that point, Kissoon will not qualify as a delegate.
“There is no push to get her out. She has served the party for a long time,” Granger told Stabroek News while adding that the investigation will take its course. Granger noted that the party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) made a decision last Wednesday to appoint the Disciplinary Committee and an invitation was extended to Region 10 to submit a nomination, but that has not happened.
On July 10, the PNCR maintained that the suspension of Kissoon- who is also a Member of Parlia-ment- was done in accordance with the party’s Constitution but this was rejected by Kissoon and party members from Linden wrote Granger expressing solidarity with her.
Granger’s revelation that Region 10 subsequently refused to cooperate with the CEC’s decision to further investigate the incident between Kissoon and the party’s General Secretary Oscar Clarke, showcases the growing dissent within the party.
The PNCR’s move to discipline Kissoon over the June 20th incident has stirred up simmering divisions in the region which came to the surface in 2012 at the height of the protest over electricity tariffs. These divisions were further heightened with the decision in April this year by the PNCR CEC to appoint Sandra Adams as the coordinator for the region. Her appointment has apparently been opposed by key members of the region.
“The appointment of the Coordinator was discussed and determined at several meetings and was approved and authorized by a meeting of the Central Executive Committee. Representatives of the Region attended all of these meetings. The Chairman of the Regional Democratic Council was also invited to attend these meetings although he is not an elected Party officer of the Region. It was evident from the outset that certain persons resented the appointment and resisted attempts to allow the Coordinator to be given access to the Party’s office,” the party had said.
These differences culminated in the June 20th incident at Congress Place where Clarke demanded the keys to the party’s regional facilities from Kissoon and an altercation occurred. This incident led to the suspension of Kissoon.
Region 10 members of the PNCR are standing in solidarity with Kissoon following what they are calling her unjust suspension from the party on June 24.
In a letter signed by 119 party members in Region 10 dated June 30, representatives from the PNCR stated that Granger had no authority to suspend Kissoon as the decision was made one day prior to a statutory meeting of the CEC which met on June 25 to address the matter. The letter stated that “the rules of the party are clear that discipline falls within the purview of stipulated Disciplinary Authorities of which the Leader is not one.”
Region 10 party members are arguing that the decision to suspend Kissoon was personal and part of the continued, “consistent and sustained assault on the region.”
The letter argued that Kissoon and other party members raised concerns when the party appointed Adams as Coordinator for the region without any input or consultation by the elected representatives in the region. According to the statement signed by the members “when our elected representatives resisted these transgressions and violations they are subjected to all forms of attacks threats and altercations…” and denied their rights as party members.
Kissoon has remained firm that she was never given the opportunity to speak on the issue prior to her suspension and a letter by John Yates – a longstanding party member who was not present during the incident – to members of the Central Executive was done prior to the two parties involved in the issue raising an official complaint.