If he becomes PNC/R Leader, candidate Aubrey Norton said that he will return the Party’s focus to working ‘on the ground’, improve the level of Party members through education and training and transform the Party into a viable unit for economic empowerment.
On the Sherod Duncan show, In The Ringon Monday evening, Norton said that he and his team will improve on the shortcomings of the current PNC/R leadership and he should be elected because he represents the best option for the Party when compared to other competitors.
The current leader of the PNC/R is former President David Granger. However, Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon has launched his campaign for the leadership and Norton and Dr Richard Van West Charles are among those who have also signalled their intentions to replace Granger as leader. The PNC/R’s long-overdue Congress is set for early December 2021.
Putting forward his bid for why he should be Party leader, Norton said that after the famed No-Confidence Motion was brought against the APNU+AFC in 2018, there was hesitancy among the leadership of the PNC/R to address their supporters and give guidance to members.
Norton said that he filled the void and helped to maintain stability, organisation and an understanding of the situation amid political uncertainty.
“I became very active after the No-Confidence Motion because I thought at that time, our people needed more political leadership and clear political leadership,” he said.
Even now, he said that there is still much he intends to do to bring back supporters to the party who left as a result of poor leadership. He said that a number of persons have indicated their interest to return under his leadership.
YOUTH, EXPERIENCE AND RACE
Other advantages Norton named that would come along with his election to the post is his ability to mobilize people despite their race and his passion for the involvement of young people.
While some have put forward that Norton as PNC/R Leader will result in little to no attraction to the Indo-Guyanese base of the Party, Norton said that he has worked in Indo-Guyanese majority populated areas and has received the commitment of support from many persons because of his leadership style.
Meanwhile, he assured the public that the team he would work with will be a balance of youth and experience. “I would like to see at least 6 or 7 of our old, staunch party comrades in the Executive remain and about 9 young people come in and we put in place a system in which the youths that come can be mentored,” he proposed.
The young people Norton is interested in are those with the ability to move the party’s mission forward. Some he named as whom he is already impressed by are APNU+AFC Region Five MP, Vinceroy Jordan and APNU+AFC Region Two MP, Shurwayne Holder.
Norton said that he does not believe in “handpicking” persons to serve in positions but that those who serve must have the capacity and the capability.
Referencing Region Ten’s Sharma Solomon, Norton said that around 2011 he once saw him as a youthful person with the potential to lead the Region although some were upset with his position. Norton said that he believes that more young people should be allowed to lead at the regional level with the aim of leadership on the national level.
As such, if he becomes the leader of the PNC/R, he put forward that education and training will be high on the agenda. “When I joined the PNC/R, Forbes Burnham ensured we were trained. That has fallen off the [band]. I intend to bring back to the PNC/R a proper education and training programme so that we prepare all our people for politics and leadership in the country,” Norton said.
NO LOW BLOWS
In his campaigning efforts, Norton said that he has no intention to ‘fight dirty’ with party leaders who he hopes will be willing to work along with him if he secures the helm of the PNC/R. He said that he has experienced others ‘slinging mud’ within the party and cautioned that this will not prove beneficial in the long run.
Norton explained: “One of the things I avoid doing is being unnecessarily critical. I have been campaigning and I’ve not campaigned against anybody I’ve campaigned for me and a leadership team. That is because, also, I believe mature leaders will not attack each other in the Party knowing full well that once you become leader or the person is a member of the Executive, a lot of what was said can be used against the candidate.”
In fact, Norton said he intends to approach his fellow candidates, including Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon, to express his intention for a civilised campaign that culminates with all leaders working to support the winning candidate.
Other key actions top on his agenda is the compilation of a new Voter’s List as he stated that the exiting is a “recipe for PPP fraud and irregularities” and putting words into action whereby as leader of the PNC/R, the party will make no differentiation between its service to Indo and Afro-Guyanese.
Norton said that while he can admit that there were times that he was wronged in the Party, he has never left the PNC/R and continues to support it with a bigger goal in mind. Moving forward, as he vies for leadership, he pledged to continue to serve the PNC/R whether he wins or loses.
He urged the public to support his efforts on the basis that he has the ability to provide better leadership and is the only candidate that presents a worry to the PPP/C when it comes to the leadership of the country.
“I have a vision and a plan for the Party, I have manifested my commitment to the Party. I don’t think my intellectual capacity is in question,” Norton said.
“I don’t want anybody to worry about my commitment…when I joined the Pary it was about the People’s National Congress Reform. When we acted, we acted for the PNC/R. We acted in the interest of the PNC/R. It is in recent times that this thing has become a lot of personal what-you-call-it. My intention is to restore the Party.”