PNC chairmanship race heats up– challenge suggests discontent with Williams’ incumbencyAs the race to the People’s National Congress (PNC) chairmanship heats up and two clear contenders for the post have emerged, political analysts believe it will be a contest old versus new, highlighting factions within the party.With the PNC congress slated for August 17, at least two contenders have emerged for the chairmanship post. Attorney General Basil Williams is the incumbent Chairman of the party. Previously he was unopposed for the position.But fellow Cabinet colleagues Joseph Harmon and Volda Lawrence have thrown their hats into the ring this time around. In an interview with this publication, political analyst, Dr David Hinds offered his thoughts on the race, which could be the forerunner to 2020’s General and Regional Elections.Hinds posited that the developments indicate a faction within the traditional party faithful that want Williams ousted from the chairmanship, possibly based on his performance. Harmon’s entrance, he noted, indicates the presence of a newer, more coalition minded faction in the party.“Two challengers to Basil Williams for Chairman, one can assume the general membership of the PNC may be dissatisfied with Williams’s tenure and they may be looking for someone new,” Hinds related.“In the last week, we’ve had Volda Lawrence throwing her hat into the race. I think that Lawrence and Williams are vying for the same kind of vote amongst PNC members. So it means (her) very entry into the race is an indication that that faction seems to think Williams is unable to win and so they turn to Lawrence.”The political analyst posited that what Lawrence and Williams risked was splitting this traditional factor. Hinds thus expressed the belief that if all three ran, one of them might drop out the race ahead of time to avoid splitting the vote and give the traditional faction a chance of overcoming Harmon’s challenge.“We’re seeing two factions emerging within the PNC. One faction is what I would call; the old PNC. And then I think there is a new faction within the PNC; some people refer to it as the ex-soldiers. But I think it’s more than the ex-soldiers.”“I think it’s a faction looking beyond the traditional PNC way of doing things and it’s more the APNU type. And I think Harmon represents that type. I think the APNU faction is less tribalist that the other faction.”Harmon is currently the General Secretary for A Partnership for National Unity, the coalition party the PNC joined. The Minister of State is also an Executive Member of the party. And since he announced his candidature in May, Harmon has taken to social media to forward his cause.“That is the democracy which we practise: so every member of the party can aspire to the highest office in our party. And like many others, I am a member of the party of long standing, and therefore have indicated that it is my desire and my interest in putting myself up as a candidate for the chairmanship of the party,” said Harmon, who seems to be the most popular candidate, and most competent and active Government Minister.Meanwhile, Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence, through Director of Sport Christopher Jones, also recently announced her candidacy for the post. Lawrence, a long-time member of the party, had contested for the leadership back in 2012 against now President David Granger.Back in April, Williams had hinted that he may run again for the chairmanship post. “I am servant of the PNC and a servant of my party. They know me. I have been working steadily throughout the years, and me and my comrades… So we don’t think that’s an issue,” he had stated.
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“I love my team this year, I think that we’re so much further along strategy wise,” she says. “We play together as more of a unit as oppose to a bunch of little units. It’s more fun.”The Killbillies return to the track for a rematch against the Gold Pain in Quesnel July 19, before returning home to the North Peace Arena on August 10 against Grimshaw. Prior to Fort St. John and Quesnel dishing out the punishment, there was a rookie bout for those new to the roller derby experience. Stephanie Woodwark (Francis Break’em) says she was proud of those who came out, and that the talent of the players surpassed her expectations.“The rookie bout went so great, you can’t really have expectations in your first bout especially when it’s everyone’s first bout,” she explains. “They did unbelievable. There were people that completely took me off guard and surprised me with how far they had come, how well they had learned.”- Advertisement -In the main event, the difference to Woodward was the play of the Quesnel jammers, who despite taking a number of hard hits, were able to stay upright and score points throughout.“They were so strong, they got by us and we didn’t even notice sometimes,” she says. “That’s a credit to them. They had great jammers, we did our best, and I think it was pretty close for a bout that’s not to far of a point spread.”Despite the loss, Woodwark says that the team is in a much better place this year compared to last as they carry on with the rest of the season.Advertisement