The process for the renewal of membership to the PNCR has been beset by inefficiencies and delay, according to prospective leadership candidate Dr Richard Van West-Charles, who says they threaten to undermine transparency.
Last week, PNCR executive Aubrey Norton dismissed concerns raised by Van West-Charles and his campaign about inefficiencies and delays in the access to membership forms. He said all groups and districts that requested forms would have obtained them as far as he was aware.
Although saying that the situation has seen some improvement since his complaint, Van West-Charles maintained on Saturday that there is need for greater access to membership forms. “We obviously have a difference of perspective in terms of the process of access to the renewal of adult membership and youth membership,” Van West-Charles told Stabroek News, later adding that, “At this stage it is still puzzling why the release of forms seems to be so slow in some cases.”
May 31 is the cut off date for renewal of membership, he noted.
Van West-Charles has been told that the forms are to be distributed through the party’s regional administration. However, what has been happening, he explained, is that forms are being sent to the regions and when they are finished a request has to be made to the party headquarters for more, resulting in a delay. He said the procedures needs to be re-examined for the future, adding that they should also be put down in writing so that every member understands the process.
According to him, there is need for a system that allows members access to forms and accountability for them. “That is the issue, there should not be any form of delay,” he said, “But it is obvious that there is not as efficient a system as there ought to be and one gets concerned when we have inefficient systems, because when we have inefficient systems the risk for corruption becomes great.”
He emphasised that the PNCR “really ought to try” as an institution to ensure that its systems are efficient and effective, particularly given the need to ensure that there is transparency in the process. “Whilst you may say that I know ‘X’ and I trust ‘X,’ in organisations you really want to ensure systems are transparent so that if I want to verify I can verify,” Van West-Charles added.
He also mentioned that he is still awaiting a response to his request for a review of the register of the Georgetown District, though he said the party had assured him that a reply would be forthcoming.
In an earlier interview, he told Stabroek News that the party’s election process has to be fair, just and transparent to both the membership and the public.
“Free and fair polls are critical issues and you can’t go to the [electorate] with question marks about your own internal process,” he said.
In 2007, Vincent Alexander and his supporters abandoned their campaign before voting began at the biennial congress, after failing to get a verification of the list of members eligible to vote.