President David Granger was re-elected leader of the People’s National Congress/Reform (PNCR), a leading member of the coalition government in Guyana, as his Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence, emerged as the first female chairperson of the party.
“The party is 61 years old and it is a robust party; robust democracy. The people understand what I need and want; I am very satisfied now that I have a female chairman and a female vice-chairman,” Granger said.”
“This morning, the contest is over. The local government campaign starts,” Granger said during the early hours of Monday, after party supporters had gathered since last Friday for the 20th Biennial Congress of the party.
“At the end of the day we are one party and our party is very important, not only to us but to the country. The persons who have been elected understand this duty. They have been long-standing members. And each elected member is a member of my Cabinet,” he said.
“We know where we are going. We have a team and under my guidance will work together. These are not strangers. I have worked with them as shadow ministers, and in Cabinet. We have a mission and what occurred over the last few days is an indication of our commitment. The people have seen democracy and transparency… we are going to the future with eyes wide open,” Granger said.
But the highlight of the election was the contest for the position of chairman that had Lawrence coming up against Attorney General Basil Williams, who was hoping to be re-elected to the position, and Minister of state Joseph Harmon.
Lawrence secured 346 votes, while Harmon and Williams secured 287 and 183 votes respectively for the second highest position within Guyana’s oldest political party.
Lawrence pledged to ensure that there is unity within the party and across the country.
“I do not bring gold or silver, but what I bring is a heart for the people of Guyana. I pledge to walk the walk and to talk the talk to ensure that we remain in government for the next five years. I also pledge to work with our leader and leaders to ensure that we address the needs of our people and that we all work together in unity,” she said soon after she was announced the winner.
“Let us walk with purpose and dignity and show the Guyanese people that this is the party to be a member of,” the newly elected chairman said, adding “I will bring the women with me and we will carry you and this party onwards.
“I also pledge to work with all our leader and leaders to ensure that we address the needs of our people and that we work together in unity, and as we leave here, let us remember that we are all members of the greatest party in this country”, Lawrence said.
Williams told reporters that Lawrence’s election represents “a new dimension to our politics” saying “it is the time for women, the party has spoken, the woman has won and I will support the woman. It is a great win and we will move forward together”.
Harmon said the election of a new chairperson and other senior office-bearers illustrates the will of the party’s members.
“The party has won! I think that this is a historic moment in our party when we have an opportunity to work together to build our party. I don’t see a defeat here. I see that we have all won out of this.
“It has mobilised our base, so you can feel the energy in here. I want to congratulate Ms. Volda Lawrence on her victory and I want to congratulate all the other members; the vice-chairmen… two of the persons who scored very high were on my campaign team,” he said.
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