PNC General Council Meeting‒ deny persons were forced to attend eventAt their first General Council Meeting for the year 2017, leaders of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) placed much emphasis on the need to develop employment opportunities for young people.PNC General Secretary Oscar ClarkeAddressing the gathering at the meeting held at the party’s headquarters, Congress Place, Sophia, Greater Georgetown, on Saturday under the theme “PNCR – Vanguard of a Green Economy”, PNCR Leader, President David Granger underscored the importance of providing employment for the young people of Guyana.“Despite the challenges, we have to find employment for the young people of Guyana. We have to develop the village economies; we have to start producing things at the village level,” Granger asserted, as he called on village leaders to take rebuilding of the village economy seriously. The Head of State committed Government’s support for such initiatives.Noting that it was imperative that employment be found for the young people of Guyana, the President said also that Regions must focus on education.During his feature address, the Party’s Leader also placed focus on the family, noting that society was founded on the family and the family was sacrosanct while urging party members to protect and preserve the family.Moreover, President Granger assured the Council that the PNCR was committed to the coalition Government. “The PNCR is committed to coalition politics; we are better together.”Speaking on the Diaspora, he added that “the Diaspora is vital to the PNC; it is a vital component. I trust the Diaspora and I believe in the Diaspora.”On the other hand, Party Chairman Basil Williams, SC, highlighted the developments that the Granger-led Administration has undertaken to date and the path ahead for further development. He also called on citizens to be cognisant and take advantage of opportunities that were being made available.“We must take up the many opportunities for employment that our pursuit of a ‘Green Economy’ together with the imminent ‘on-boarding’ of our oil and gas industries will bring,” Williams pointed out.Following the formal opening, plenary sessions examined the Party Leader’s address, the General Secretary’s Report and plans for the party’s 60th anniversary. A motion giving full support to the Government in the action that was taken to repossess the Red House, a National Heritage building, was presented to the General Council by the Vice Chairperson of the National Congress of Women (NCW), Carol Smith-Joseph.Meanwhile, the following day, the PNCR sought to refute claims that senior public servants were “requested” to attend its General Council Meeting.In a statement on Sunday, the party responded to an article published in the Sunday, January 22, 2017 edition of the Guyana Times under the caption: “PNC General Council Meeting: Granger assures commitment to coalition Govt …as senior public servants express displeasure at being requested to attend.”According to the PNCR, the General Council of the PNCR is an institution of the party that comprises only members of the PNCR. To this end, the statement outlined that “No Senior Public Servants were or are ‘requested’ to attend.”Furthermore, the party went on to highlight Article 16(1) of the PNCR’s constitution, which states that: the General Council shall comprise: (a) All members of the Central Executive Committee; (b) the Representatives of the Regional and Sub-Divisional Committees; (c) All PNCR Regional Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen; (d) all eligible persons who were candidates on the party’s list at the last General Election; (e) three representatives of the Guyana Youth and Student Movement (GYSM); (f) three representatives of the National Congress of Women (NCW); and (g) all Chairmen, Vice Chairmen of Local Democratic Organs, Mayors and Deputy Mayors who were elected to office on the party’s list of candidates.Guyana Times on Sunday reported that as the PNCR held its first General Council Meeting for the year 2017 under the theme “PNCR – Vanguard of a Green Economy”, the event was reminiscent of the 1970s confabs as it was insisted upon that senior public servants attend the event.However, this publication recieved numerous complaints from persons who were asked to attend the event.According to an upset senior Government official, the event was déjà vu to the Forbes Burnham era when public servants, despite their displeasure, were forced to attend the PNC’s General Council meetings.The General Council is the second highest decision-making forum of the PNCR.