Forde, Walton-Desir withdraw from PNC leadership race amid irregularities

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

Parliamentarians Roysdale Forde and Amanza Walton-Desir have suspended their campaigns and withdrawn from contesting for the position of Peoples National Congress (PNC), making incumbent leader Aubrey Norton to sole contestant for the top spot at this weekend’s Congress.

In making their announcement today, both Forde and Walton-Desir have cited irregularities in the electoral process.

See below their respective statements:

Amanza Walton-Desir

My dear brothers and sisters of the PNCR,

I come to you today to announce my decision to suspend my campaign for the PNCR leadership. This decision has been incredibly difficult, but it has been made after deep reflection and extensive discussions with my team and close advisors.

Throughout my campaign, I have been dedicated to upholding the values of transparency, fairness, decency and integrity within our beloved party.

However, recent developments which I am not at liberty to ignore, have raised serious concerns regarding the process.

As of the morning of June 27th, 2024, one day before the commencement of our Congress, a preliminary list of delegates has not been made available to me as a candidate to allow for claims or objections and further, there is a lack of agreement among all candidates contesting on the procedures for conducting the elections.

These and several other issues necessitate careful consideration and resolution to ensure the continued integrity of our party and while I believe it is vital to address these concerns, I also recognize the importance of doing so in a manner that preserves our unity and strength.

To my supporters, your unwavering belief in me and our shared vision has been my greatest strength. I am deeply grateful for your support and dedication. Though I am suspending my campaign, our work does not end here. We must continue to advocate for the values we believe in and push for the changes our party needs.

I encourage all members and supporters of the PNCR to remain united and steadfast during this challenging period. Our strength lies in our unity and our shared commitment to a better future for our party and our country. Together, we can overcome any obstacle and ensure that our principles guide us forward.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support. Let us continue to work together for the betterment of our party and our nation.

May God Bless you and may God bless the PNCR!!!

Roysdale Forde

Today, I hereby formally suspend my candidacy and acceptance of all nominations for the positions to which I have been nominated by Party Groups across the Country. My decision is based on the following reasons, which have significantly impacted my confidence in the integrity and fairness of the electoral process:

1.Despite several written communications addressed to the Central Executive Committee and the General Secretary regarding concerns about the integrity of the electoral processes for the party’s elections, I have not received any response.

2. There have been noticeable irregularities concerning the list of delegates, which raise serious concerns about the transparency of the election process.

3. Unreasonable timelines have been imposed to meet certain requirements for holding the congress, which have placed undue pressure and constraints on the democratic process.

4. Members from various regions across the country have expressed dissatisfaction with the extremely limited time provided to organize logistics to attend and effectively participate in the Congress.

Further, my decision is rooted in the fundamental principles of accountability, transparency and democratic governance, which I believe are essential for the integrity of the party’s electoral processes.

On Monday, June 23, 2024, the former General Secretary of the party, Ms. Dawn Hastings- Williams, resigned from that post. Her resignation was influenced by the lack of those very critical issues- transparency, accountability and internal democracy. Her resignation coupled with evidence of irregularities, and the expressed dissatisfaction of members demonstrate that the current electoral process has fallen woefully short of meeting even rudimentary standards necessary to uphold these principles.

Still, it is imperative that our party’s internal elections adhere to the highest standards of democratic practice to ensure fairness and inclusivity. Unfortunately, the deficiencies observed in the process have made it clear that these standards have not been met.

Therefore, after careful thought and consideration and with a heavy heart, I hereby suspend my candidacy for the positions nominated. I thank all the Groups, members and supporters of our Party for their confidence and support they demonstrated in me. It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the work, sacrifice and dedication of my team.

I remain committed to the high values, ideals and goals of our party, set in place at its very core and at its very foundation by Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham. I will continue to work towards fostering a democratic and inclusive political environment within the PNCR.

I must urge the leadership and all members of the PNCR to reflect on these concerns and take decisive actions to improve our electoral processes moving forward. Our party’s strength lies in our commitment to democratic principles, and it is crucial that we uphold these principles in every aspect of our operations. Long live the PNCR!