AS the People’s National Congress (PNC) continues to insist that the party’s General Secretary, Geeta Chandan-Edmond, remains on leave, there are more details emerging about a strained relationship between her and the party’s leader, Aubrey Norton.
Several sources within the party laid blame at Norton’s leadership style for the wedge driven between Chandan-Edmond and the party’s leadership.
The sources pointed to Norton’s “arrogance” in his approach to contentious issues, oftentimes seeking to silence dissenting voices within the party.
It has been close to three months since Chandan-Edmond has been seen at a public event hosted by the party or its umbrella, the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC).
In addition to supposedly being sidelined by Norton, Chandan-Edmond has also been keeping a low profile, giving up public appearances. Several calls to her phone went unanswered in the past few days.
There are growing concerns by party stalwarts about the confrontational stance adopted by Norton that alienates parts of the party membership.
Chandan-Edmond, in August, went on leave to reportedly deal with personal matters, but has since then not been seen among her colleagues in the party. Sources close to the PNC, speaking on the condition of anonymity, alleged that Chandan-Edmond, who replaced PNC veteran, Amna Ally, earlier this year as PNC General Secretary, is being forced out of her position.
Based on reports, Chandan-Edmond, an attorney and former magistrate, does not see “eye-to-eye” with the positions and policies of Norton, and their relationship prior to her going on leave was extremely “rocky.”
Several party members had told this publication that Norton does not enjoy the support of all the Opposition members in Parliament, and his leadership style has alienated many from the party.
There are reports that several employees at Congress Place, in recent months, have either resigned or parted ways with the PNC/R’s headquarters for varying reasons.
In May of this year, Misenga Jones, the woman who challenged the use of votes from the recount of the March 2, 2020, elections as the basis for the declaration of the results, was fired from her position as office clerk at Congress Place, PNC/R Headquarters, Sophia, Georgetown.
According to a friend and associate of Jones, who is familiar with the situation at Congress Place, her firing stemmed from the behaviour of a PNC member who was very confrontational to international observers during the attempt to rig the 2020 elections.
Also, in February, Norton had written Vishnu Persaud, the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) of GECOM, to inform him that he had selected Carol Smith Joseph as a replacement for Amna Ally as Chief Scrutineer for the APNU+AFC.
Joseph is before the court on electoral fraud charges, as she was a central figure in the coalition’s alleged interference in the March 2, 2020, General Elections.