Norton replaces Granger as APNU Chairman
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PNC/R Leader and APNU Chair, Aubrey Norton
PNC/R Leader and APNU Chair, Aubrey Norton

— Harmon resigns as General-Secretary

ONE month after he was elected Leader of the People’s National Congress/Reform (PNC/R), Aubrey Norton was, on Tuesday, elected Leader of the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Coalition.

The PNC/R is the largest party in the Coalition.

Norton’s appointment to the leadership came during a meeting of the APNU Executive Council, moments after his predecessor, former President David Granger officially reported his decision to demit office as Chair.

During that meeting, APNU General-Secretary, Joseph Harmon, who is also the current Leader of the Opposition (LoO), also demitted office as the APNU General-Secretary.

Speaking with the Guyana Chronicle shortly after his appointment, Norton noted that he was glad that the party was moving forward with rectifying issues with the leadership.

“I have always said we will work it out in the party and with the APNU and we are doing that so I am comfortable with what we are doing. The Executive Council met and they elected me and I will meet with them and as we charter the course forward I will stay in contact with the press on where we are heading,” Norton commented in a telephone interview.

Though Granger’s resignation as the APNU Chair was with immediate effect so as to pave the way for Norton to be elected in the position, Harmon’s exit will not be immediate.

The Executive Council has requested that he continues as General-Secretary for another seven days to facilitate the smooth transition to a new General-Secretary, according to a statement from APNU.

APNU made no mention as to who would fill that position.

According to the APNU statement, Tuesday’s Committee meeting was attended by representatives of all five of the constituting members of the Coalition.

Aside from Norton, Granger and Harmon, also present at the meeting were Jaipaul Sharma from the Equal Rights and Justice Party (ERJP); Vincent Henry from the Guyana Action Party;

Tabitha Sarabo-Halley from the Guyana Nation Builders (GNB); and Keith Scott of the National Front Alliance (NFA).

“Members of the Executive thanked the outgoing Chair and General Secretary for their role in advancing the idea of the APNU to what it is today,” the statement said.

Norton’s rise to the APNU leadership comes days after he was criticised by members of the media over his avoidance of the media and refusal to respond to questions over what is going on with the various leadership positions in the main opposition party.

There had been many questions surrounding the uncertainty over the leadership of the APNU+AFC, the Leader of the Opposition (LoO) post, and the Representative of the List of APNU+AFC,  since Norton became leader of the PNC/R in December.

It is customary for the leader of the PNC/R party to also simultaneously hold the position of Leader of the Opposition (LoO), Leader of the APNU+AFC coalition, and Representative of the List for the APNU+AFC.

Despite Norton being leader of the PNC/R party, he is not a Member of Parliament (MP). Harmon, who is currently the LoO, however, is not even an executive member of the PNC/R.

In his first press conference as leader of the PNC/R, Norton had indicated that the PNC/R Central Executive Committee (CEC) had made the decision that he should also be the LoO. However, only the Representative of the List can make that decision. Granger is currently the Representative of the List.

Though the party has now cleared up the issue of Leader of the APNU, the confusion over the LoO and Representative of the List still remains.

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