As she yesterday launched her campaign for Chair-person of the PNCR, attorney at law and APNU+AFC Member of Parliament Amanza Walton-Desir said that she will not endorse any candidate for leader as the position she seeks needs an impartial chair and ear to listen to all and sundry.
“I believe the chair must be able to support whom-ever emerges as leader and it is vitally important that at this time here, where we are focused on unifying the party that we are willing to work with each other. I have not endorsed anyone and don’t think I will,” she told Stabroek News following a brunch held in her honour.
“I don’t think it would be helpful given that I am nominated for a position as Chair. The Leader will need a competent Chair-person to assist in the work of the party and an endorsement for anyone would not help to foster that [impartial image],” she added.
In her address to the many attendees, mostly women, Walton-Desir who follows Volda Lawrence with the most nominations for the post, underscored that the upcoming congress is one of the most critical in the party’s history as it will select its leaders to guide it to an anticipated highly contested 2025 General Elections.
Lawrence is yet to publicly state if she is running for any position but sources have said that she will not contest for that of party leader. Since the announcement of the congress, she has kept a low profile and the one time this newspaper made contact with her, she said that she was at a function for children with cancer and could not speak.
Walton- Desir declared that the party must go back to its founding core principle when party founder Forbes Sampson Burnham had a vision for a political party for “all Guyanese irrespective of race or creed; a party rooted and grounded in the working class, but with the capacity to be a political home to Guyanese from all walks of life.
“Today, just like in 1957 our dear land of Guyana and our great Party stand at the crossroad. The decisions made at our upcoming 21st Biennial Dele-gates Congress will not only determine the future of the Party, but the future of our nation,” she added.
Walton-Desir said it is not an exaggeration to say that the eyes of the entire nation are on the party, as she cautioned against any mudslinging amongst party members.
“It is therefore important that we demonstrate prudence and civility whilst we celebrate and participate in the democratic process that is the 21st biennial delegates’ congress of the People’s National Congress Reform. It is even more important that we demonstrate that we are a dynamic party, responsive not only to the time in which we find ourselves, but also to the cries of our members and supporters,” she stressed.
She said that she felt privileged in the nominations received and it was demonstrative that members, like her, believe that “more than ever, the PNCR needs youthful, energetic, courageous women and men, with vision, integrity, empathy and dedication to step up and to step forward ….to work shoulder to shoulder with our elders to usher our great Party into its bright new future. “
Committed to the cause, she said was a chairperson, mother, sister, friend and the person who would work with not only members but Guyanese to ensure this country benefits from its wealth of resources.
“My brothers and sisters there is a cause and I am committed to the cause! I am honoured to have been nominated to contest for the position of Chair of the People’s National Congress Reform.”
Under the Party’s Constitution, the Chairperson “…shall preside over and be responsible for the conduct of the meetings of Congress, General Council and Central Executive Committee and may be assigned other duties by the Central Executive Committee…”
It is why she pointed out that the role of Chair, “is therefore a key, critical supporting role with the Central Executive Committee being the “nerve centre” of the Party.
“To bring maximum support to the Party Leadership and in order to function effectively and efficiently, it is imperative that the Central Executive Committee, (CEC) adopt a new, modern governance perspective. The revitalization of sectoral committees to develop and refine party policy on the pressing developmental issues of our time is a matter of urgency,” she said.
Internationally, she said that the party must seek to reinvigorate, and where necessary, rekindle relationships with allies.
“The reactivation of the International Relations Committee is an important first step in this regard. Further, the continuous engagement of the diplomatic corps in order to keep them informed of (the) party’s positions on current issues can only redound to our advantage,” she said
Further, she added, “Our Party Groups, which are our bedrock, must be re-engineered and retooled to become viable political and economic units. Not only must we stay connected to the grassroots but we must go beyond that…. we must be able to harness the energy of the grassroots as well as our youths and entrepreneurs and channel those energies into constructive endeavours, which will result in both the political and economic empowerment of our base. There is no alternative to organizing, mobilizing and educating the people. Our membership must not only understand what we are seeking to do but they must know that they have a vested interest in our success.”
She said that at the backbone of development in this country more needs to be done to position women to tackle the vicissitudes of life.
Another demographic within the party that must be the beneficiary of targeted policies is the youth, according to Walton-Desir.
“With youth making up more than 60 percent of Guyana’s population, it will be political suicide to leave the development of the youth of our party to chance. Now more than ever, we must intentionally provide mentoring and growth opportunities for our young people to develop their leadership, policy-making and business skills. We must deliberately choose continuity over constriction and complementing over competition,” she said.
And given this country’s brain drain history, she said that the diaspora presents a large untapped resource for assistance with training and capacity building, particularly in areas such as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and business development.
“We must embrace the diaspora as our developmental partners and reject the notion that they are our competitors. The Party must fully exploit this technological age to improve community organisation and mobilisation so as to promote activism, engender youth support and enhance the public political discourse. We must glean the best ideas, from all quarters, to move the party forward, united in our quest to galvanize, mobilize and ultimately, reclaim the seat of Government at the next National and Regional Elections,” she added.
As the PNCR proceeds to its 21st Biennial Delegates congress, Walton-Desir wants them to reflect on Burnham when he addressed the first biennial congress in 1975, “The PNC must be a party of heroes, not of braggarts, Let this Congress open our perceptions and strengthen our resolve. Our children-our posterity- depend on us and will judge us,” she said.