Volda Lawrence, the People’s National Congress/Reform (PNC/R) Chairperson widely considered as a front-runner for the position of party leader, will be declining her nomination to contest as leader at the party’s Congress next month.
Lawrence, a former Minister of Public Health, was one of seven candidates who were nominated for leader of the PNC/R last week. While efforts to contact Lawrence were futile, this publication was able to make contact with former PNC/R Parliamentarian James Bond, who made the confirmation.
According to Bond, Lawrence will not be accepting the nomination and will be sitting out the race. Bond emphasised, however, that she still has the party at heart and will continue to serve the party.
“She’s not contesting… Ms Lawrence has never been a person who made the leader of the party an ambition of hers. I think all she wanted to do was serve her party and she’s still serving her party in whatever capacity she can. Just that this time she decided to sit out the race. But she still has her party at heart and will continue to serve the party,” he explained.
Other nominees include former Attorney General Basil Williams, Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge and former Region 10 Chairman Sharma Solomon. Incumbent Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon, Aubrey Norton and Dr. Richard Van West Charles were also nominated. The party’s 21st Biennial delegate congress is scheduled for December 11, 2021, over the course of one day.
In stage one of the Congress, elections will be held for the leader, Chairman, Vice Chairpersons and Treasurer. In the second stage, there will be an election for the members of the Central Executive Committee.
The PNCR – the leading party in the A Partnership for National Unity faction of the APNU/AFC coalition Opposition – has been embroiled in an internal divisive power struggle since the party’s loss at the 2020 General and Regional Elections. Hence, there was mounting pressure for congress to be held to elect new leadership.
Harmon’s candidacy is supported by several Members of Parliament and party members who attended his campaign launch that was streamed live on the PNCR Facebook page. These include: Coretta McDonald, Roysdale Forde, Ganesh Mahipaul and Annette Ferguson – all parliamentarians.
Meanwhile, Dr Van West-Charles has been endorsed by several PNCR members including prominent leaders in Linden, including Solomon and former PNC parliamentarian Vanessa Kissoon.
Greenidge, a long-standing member of the PNC/R who once served as Finance Minister under former President Forbes Burnham, served from 2015 to 2019 as Foreign Affairs Minister under government of David Granger- who he previously challenged for the leadership of the party. He is currently employed in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an advisor on borders.