Norton: PNCR constitution not followed in Vanessa Kissoon matter

Hopeful for the PNCR leadership, Aubrey Norton says the party’s constitution was not properly followed in dealing with the Vanessa Kissoon – Oscar Clarke dispute. He further believes that it was the improper adherence to the Constitution and the overall bad handling of the matter which allowed it to spiral out of control.

Stabroek News spoke to Kissoon and Clarke yesterday and neither of them knew if the disciplinary committee set up to resolve the matter had made a decision. The committee, which is comprised of People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) members Allan Munroe, Malika Ramsey, Christopher Jones, Cheryl Sampson and Lance Carberry, last met on Tuesday and Stabroek News was informed that its work is ongoing.

The unresolved status of the matter raises questions as to whether Kissoon will attend the party’s congress which starts today and ends on Sunday. Yesterday she told this newspaper that she may make an appearance based on how she feels.

Kissoon though, is yet to receive her party membership card, which is one of the documents required to grant its holder entry into Congress Place over the weekend. She confirmed this to Stabroek News yesterday around the same time that fellow Lindener and party member Sharma Solomon released a statement calling on the powers that be to provide her with the necessary accreditation to attend Congress as a delegate in accordance with rule 15 (2) (d) of the party’s Constitution.

Rule (2) (d) states: “All members of the General Council, Party Nominees to the Parliament and National Congress of Local Democratic Organs shall be entitled to attend the Biennial Congress and participate in its deliberations, but of these only Party Members have the right to vote merely by virtue of office.”

Solomon, who is Chairman of the Region 10 Regional Democratic Council, said, “Ms. Kissoon is entitled to delegate status at the 18th Biennial Congress of the People’s National Congress Reform. The Members of PNCR Region 10 are advising that the General Secretary complies and provide her with the appropriate accreditation as she is (an) APNU Member of Parliament on the PNCR list.”

Solomon’s statement is one of a cluster which have emerged in the weeks following public word of Kissoon’s suspension. The most recent was a press briefing held by Kissoon’s fellow PNCR Region 10 members. During the briefing, representative of the PNCR’s Region 10 committee Leslie Gonsalves stated that Linden is unsatisfied with the way the situation was handled.

While an issue was not made of the Kissoon-Clarke altercation, James, like Norton, believes the constitution was not adhered to in addressing the altercation between the two. He argues that the disciplinary committee is an ad hoc committee comprised of persons who are members of the Central Executive Committee and, more importantly, who voted to suspend Kissoon to begin with.

The initial support they gave to the decision to suspend Kissoon, Gonsalves says, should have disqualified all of them from eligibility for the placements. He suggested that having these members on the committee will taint whatever decision comes from the process.

Norton said that under his leadership, internal spats would not have the chance to play in the public arena. This only happens, he says, when party members feel aggrieved, and/or that their positions have not been justly taken into consideration.

Norton recalled that deceased PNCR leader Forbes Burnham was known to hold meetings between persons with grievances and himself. The positions of both parties would be taken into consideration in accordance with the party’s Constitution and acceptable solutions were found without any party feeling cheated enough to seek redress in the public, he explained.

If elected, Norton also says he intends to implement mechanisms so that consultations with party members can be continuous. He believes there are among the steps that ought to be taken to correct the mistakes which have been made. He also says that while there is some in-fighting due a matter being handled badly, he does not perceive any rifts in the party. He is confident that things will return to normal with better management.

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