President David Granger, as leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), has appointed Amna Ally to serve as General Secretary of the party with effect from today, following the retirement of long-serving office holder Oscar Clarke.
The PNCR yesterday also announced Granger’s appointment of Dawn Hastings-Williams, Sandra Adams and Brian Smith to serve as the party’s Principal Political Secretaries.
“Taking into consideration the unfolding political situation in the country and the aspirations of the people, it is my opinion that, in this Diamond Jubilee Year, the restructuring of the General Secretariat would position the Party more advantageously to continue to serve the people of Guyana,” Granger was quoted as saying in a party statement, where he also expressed the PNCR’s deep appreciation to Clarke, 78, for his “selfless, unstinting service” as General Secretary through the tenures of three party leaders.
Clarke’s retirement took effect from yesterday, while the appointments of Ally, Hastings-Williams, Adams and Smith take effect from today.
Ally, who serves as Minister of Social Protection and a Member of Parliament (MP) for the governing APNU+AFC coalition, of which the PNCR is the largest member, was appointed by Granger as Clarke’s successor in keeping with the party’s constitution.
It says the party leader shall appoint the General Secretary from among the members of the Central Executive Committee. The General Secretary is said to be the Chief Executive Officer in charge of the party’s Secretariat, with responsibility for its efficient organisation and its day-to-day functioning.
Asked whether the demands of the office would necessitate her possibly relinquishing her ministerial portfolio, Ally yesterday told Stabroek News that they would not. She said she did not see the demands of the two portfolios preventing her from successfully executing both her roles because she has the management skills needed to undertake her job and will have three assistants to aid her as General Secretary.
Ally added that the key to it all is the commitment of her party comrades as well as the team spirit they have demonstrated. “This is a lot work. It is a lot of hard work but I believe that the team that we have and with team spirit, we can achieve anything. It is not a question of whether you are happy or sad for the appointment but I have to focus in now being the person responsible for the Secretariat.
But I will get a lot of assistance. Three persons have been appointed as Assistant Secretaries… I will have assistance,” she said. “But not only that. I can tell you that our executive members are very cooperative and with everybody playing their part, it is just a question of management. Whether I can cope?
Most certainly. I have always said I am a woman of strength and capacity and with those two I am sure I will a very successful General Secretary,” she added.
Ally, a longstanding member of the party, has served as the Assistant General Secretary of the party.
The PNCR said that like Clarke, she has come through the ranks of the party’s youth arm and served as National Secretary and on the National Executive.
She is also a trained teacher and possesses a Teacher’s Certificate from the Cyril Potter College of Education and a Degree in Management from the University of Guyana.
Clarke, the party said, started his service to the then PNC in its youth arm and at age 26 was selected to represent the party in the National Assembly. In 1965, he was made a Parliamentary Secretary and served as Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly from January 1, 1969, to December 1969. “In a long and illustrious career that spanned over five decades, Oscar Clarke served his nation as Minister of State, Minister of Regional Development, Minister of Home Affairs and Guyana’s High Commissioner to Zambia and the Front-Line States and Ambassador to the Republic of Cuba,” it said, while noting that he also served as an MP for 21 years. In 2015, he was awarded the Cacique’s Crown of Honour for his exemplary service to the country.
Meanwhile, the party noted that its Constitution provides for the leader to also appoint not more than three Principal Political Secretaries, to whom he may assign specific duties.
Hastings-Williams is an MP and Junior Minister of Communities. Adams is a member of the PNCR’s Central Executive Committee, where she represents the National Congress of Women (NCW), the women’s arm of the party. She previously served as an MP for the party in the National Assembly from 1998 to 2006. Smith is the National Secretary of the Guyana Youth and Student Movement (GYSM), and is a representative of the party’s youth arm on the Central Executive Committee.