An opinion poll conducted by the North American Caribbean Teachers Association (NACTA) in July revealed that the public wants Joe Harmon to be next Chair of the Peoples National Congress (PNC). And the poll finds that Harmon is likely win the position in the party's internal executive elections slated for August 22.
The poll's findings show that Harmon is the more likable and preferred choice among the nominees for the position. The Chair is the second most powerful post in the party. Other posts are also for grab. The leader, David Granger who is also President of Guyana, is running unopposed.
The General Secretary of the party, Amna Alli, announced that there are three nominations for the position of Chair: Joe Harmon, who is Minister of the Presidency, and Ms Volda Lawrence who is Minister of Health, are challenging incumbent Mr. Basil Williams who is Attorney General. Both Ms. Lawrence and Mr. Harmon are rising in opinion polls based on NACTA poll findings.
Ms. Alli said that the selection or election process would be transparent. The findings of the poll indicated that the nation wants an above board electoral process.
As for preference for chair, Ms. Lawrence is well liked among PNC rank and file supporters. She is very strong among the Women arm of the PNC. But recent issues pertaining to the management (scandalous corrupt deals, in particular) of the Health Ministry has hurt her image badly. She also has limited appeal across the racial divide.
Photo : Volda Lawrence
People feel Mr. Williams has made too many mistakes and blunders at law affairs ministry, but the “victory” at the CCJ, knocking PPP’s Bharrat Jagdeo off the ballot, has earned him kudos among hard core PNCites. Still he has lost ground (and in fact supporters complain they can’t access him), and it would take a miracle for him to retain the position.
Some party members say Mr. Harmon does not have a long history of grounding with the membership but his organizational skills has helped the party to returning to office after 23 years in opposition. They view him as someone has been able to get things done efficiently. They note he is a hard worker and someone who is approachable. And he has wisely made himself accessible to party supporters visiting communities. They note he delivers on promises. Party supporters say they can work with Harmon. The public at large also notes that Harmon comes across as someone with a “soft image” who has wide appeal across the country. His mass appeal campaign is helping him gain support to wrest the chair from Williams.
On national support, more PNC party members, party supporters, and the public at large express a preference for Harmon over the other two nominees for Chair.
Asked who they want or prefer to be chair, 58% said Harmon, 23% Volda Lawrence, and 5% Basil Williams, with 14% not having a preference.
Asked who they feel will win the PNC Chair position, 78% said Harmon , 7% Volda Lawrence 2% and 13% said they don’t know.
In the party’s elections, only delegates (not members vote). Te actual outcome could be close between Harmon and Lawrence.