PNCR defends congress election as free and fair

-accuses Norton, Solomon of orchestrated disruption

Amid mounting criticism from within and outside of the party, the PNCR today defended their congress elections on Sunday as free, fair and transparent and accused challenger for the leadership, Aubrey Norton and Region Ten member Sharma Solomon of seeking to cause maximum disruption.

Sunday’s voting was marred by confusion after Norton pulled out of the leadership race and quit Congress Place with Solomon and other Region 10 delegates. Prior to this, the firing of a shot by a security person in the congress hall when the voting area was charged by Region 10 members sparked consternation.

At a press conference today, the PNCR pointed the finger at both Norton and Solomon.

“It was evident, from the orchestrated media campaign that was being conducted, that the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) Chairman of Region Ten, Mr. Sharma Solomon and some of his support group were intent on causing the maximum disruption to the 18th Biennial Delegates

Congress”, a statement issued at the press conference said.

It accused Solomon of not heeding several admonitions of defective lists of Region 10 delegates submitted to Congress Place.

The statement also adverted to Friday’s opening of the Congress where an embarrassing protest was launched by Region 10 delegates over accreditation and other matters.

“During the Opening Ceremony on Friday 25th July 2014 – Day One of the Congress – it was evident that a handful of Party members had convinced a segment of the Region No. 10 community, including non-members, to travel to Georgetown to disrupt what was an otherwise orderly and successful opening ceremony. This was followed by several calculated and well-planned acts of disorder.  This group was well-organised, well-financed and dressed in a ‘uniform’ manner and abused the spirit of our Party and the sanctity of our Congress”, the PNCR said.

As it relates to Norton, the PNCR said “The Party delayed the start of the Congress Elections in order to hold an emergency meeting to resolve the issues which were raised by Mr. Norton and Mr. Solomon.  After solutions were agreed, Mr. Solomon refused to collect his Delegate Card from the registration desk.

“It was becoming increasingly clear that Mr. Norton and Mr. Solomon had no interest in seeking a resolution to the issues they had raised. Instead, they were obviously intent on embarrassing the PNCR

The objective appeared to be to cause maximum disruption of the Elections process. Persons who were neither Delegates nor Observers were encouraged to crash the barriers to gain entry into the auditorium”, the statement said.

The full PNCR statement follows:

PNCR 18th BIENNIAL DELEGATES CONGRESS WAS CONDUCTED IN A FREE, FAIR AND TRANSPARENT MANNER

Seven hundred and ninety-four (794) persons were accredited Delegates to the 18th Biennial Congress from all ten administrative Regions in Guyana as well as from the North American and the UK  Regions to deliberate on the serious issues that are facing the nation.

It was evident, from the orchestrated media campaign that was being conducted, that the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) Chairman of Region Ten, Mr. Sharma Solomon and some of his support group were intent on causing the maximum disruption to the 18th Biennial Delegates

During the Opening Ceremony on Friday 25th July 2014 – Day One of the Congress – it was evident that a handful of Party members had convinced a segment of the Region No. 10 community, including non-members, to travel to Georgetown to disrupt what was an otherwise orderly and successful opening ceremony. This was followed by several calculated and well-planned acts of disorder.  This group was well-organised, well-financed and dressed in a ‘uniform’ manner and abused the spirit of our Party and the sanctity of our Congress.

A large number of the persons who were transported from Linden on Friday, Saturday and Sunday were not Delegates or Observers to the Congress. They were brought to Congress Place to create disorder.

The 18th Biennial Delegates Congress and the elections for Party officers were conducted in accordance with the Party Constitution, in an open and transparent manner. All of the posts were freely and fairly contested with full participation of the Delegates present.

The Returning Officer and his team received no complaints or criticisms.

It is apposite to note that there were no problems with any other Party Region at this 18th Biennial Delegates Congress.

Preparatory Arrangements For the Holding of The Party Congress

As is normal for the holding of a Biennial Congress, the Party General Secretary sent out two (2) Congress Circulars:

1. The First Congress Circular, dated 30th May 2014, from the Party General Secretary advised:

At this time membership renewal should be the number one priority of the various Party Groups especially since the 2011/2012 Party year came to an end on 31 May 2012. For the purpose of Delegate status at the upcoming 18th Biennial Congress only those members who satisfy the requirement of being financial members for the years 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 would be eligible to be nominated as Delegates to represent their groups at the 18th Biennial Congress.

New members 2014/2015 will not qualify for delegate status but may be selected as observers to Congress.

1. The Second Congress Circular, dated 5th  July 2014, advised Groups of the Constitutional requirements for the determination of eligibility of Party members for accreditation as Delegates or Observers and the guidelines for determining the number of Delegates which a Group was entitled to have accredited. It also provided each Party Group with the list of their current  Members as at 16th June 2014 who were eligible to be nominated as Delegates or Observers and indicated Automatic Delegates in bold print.

In addition, the Circular had appended the forms needed to be completed by each Party Group and stated:

Party Adult groups and GYSM groups are hereby requested to convene a special meeting for the purpose of conducting the business of identifying

Delegates and Observers as well as their nominees for Party Officers and members of the central executive committee.

Delegates must present either their photographic Membership Card or their National ID Card as means of identification.

All Groups were required to submit the required information to the General Secretary on or before 12th July 2014.

Submissions For The Accreditation of  Delegates and Observers for Region Ten

1. On Saturday 12th July 2014, Mr. Sharma Solomon submitted the Region Ten list of Groups and nominations for accreditation as Delegates.

The Group Lists submitted for each of the Groups in Region Ten contained persons in each Group who were qualified to be either Delegates or Observers. However, the Group Lists submitted by Mr. Solomon contained persons who were not qualified to be Delegates who were being nominated as Delegates. Many of these persons were qualified to be Observers but not Delegates.

1. On Monday 14th July 2014,the General Secretary wrote to each of the Region Ten Groups pointing out that, in many instances, persons who were qualified to be Delegates were not nominated. Instead many of the names submitted only qualified to be Observers.

1. On Monday 21st July 2014,the General Secretary received the corrected Group lists but discovered that there was still need for corrections, since, in many instances, the Group Lists submitted did not contain enough persons who were qualified to be Delegates to fill the quota of  Delegates to which they were entitled.

1. On Thursday 24th July 2014,the final day on which changes could have been made, Mr. Sharma Solomon was notified by email what corrections were needed.

1. On Friday 25th July 2014, Mr. Sharma Soloman submitted another list by email.

This was found to still contain some  of the same deficiencies that he was previously notified that needed to be corrected. In addition, Mr. Solomon included persons who he claimed to be Automatic Delegates but who were not qualified to be Automatic Delegates.

1. On Saturday 26th July 2014,at a meeting of the Accreditation Committee, Mr. Solomon was again informed of the corrections that needed to be made to the Lists he had submitted. No further information was received from Mr. Solomon. It should, however, be noted that Region 10 was entitled to 119 Delegates out of a total of 794 nationally.

The Withdrawal Of Messrs Norton And Solomon Prior To The Holding Of Elections

Every effort was made to facilitate the resolution of the concerns expressed by both Mr. Sharma Solomon and Mr. Aubrey Norton.

It should be evident that reports that the Party Secretariat was deliberately working to disenfranchise Delegates from Region No. 10 were all false. The Party General Secretary continued to work with the representatives of Region Ten to ensure that every query raised was answered.

The Party delayed the start of the Congress Elections in order to hold an emergency meeting to resolve the issues which were raised by Mr. Norton and Mr. Solomon.  After solutions were agreed, Mr. Solomon refused to collect his Delegate Card from the registration desk.

It was becoming increasingly clear that Mr. Norton and Mr. Solomon had no interest in seeking a resolution to the issues they had raised. Instead, they were obviously intent on embarrassing the PNCR

The objective appeared to be to cause maximum disruption of the Elections process. Persons who were neither Delegates nor Observers were encouraged to crash the barriers to gain entry into the auditorium.

When Mr. Norton and Mr. Solomon announced their withdrawal from Congress, approximately 30 Delegates walked out.  However, the remaining Delegates remained and participated in the elections. Only a very small segment of the Region Ten delegation behaved inappropriately.

People’s

National Congress Reform

Congress

Place, Sophia

 



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