As a specialist in the field of marketing and advertising, I am aware that at times, there is a need to repackage a good product to enhance sales, especially when the original packaging design may not be appealing enough to inspire consumer confidence.
At times, however, a bad product is repackaged and sold with the words ‘New, Improved’ prominently displayed on the label. But usually this strategy backfires when consumers realise that the product is no good.
According to DemeraraWaves (May 21), “Four opposition political parties are to contest the 2011 general election as one coalition, marking the first time that the Peoples National Congress Reform (PNCR) would be going to the polls without its own name on the ballot.
That was among several related decisions taken by the party at its General Council – the second highest decision-making body in between congresses.
However, PNCR presidential candidate, David Granger was quoted in a statement as assuring that his party would not be giving up its identity. “The Party will not be losing its identity since we will still be the PNCR,” he was quoted as saying.
Granger, a retired army brigadier, explained to delegates that the PNCR would be contesting the polls with a consensus Presidential Candidate, one manifesto, one symbol of coalition and one coalition name. The parties would also run one single campaign.”
So the main opposition PNCR is now forced to completely repackage themselves, adding a few more ingredients such as the Working Peoples Alliance (WPA), Guyana Action Party (GAP), and National Front Alliance (NFA), hoping the taste and flavour would be more acceptable and appealing to the voters.
Mr. Editor, this political party is so badly damaged, that not even the new, improved, democratic image that David Granger and his unofficial PR officer, Malcolm Harripaul wants to attach to it, has any hope of winning the general election scheduled for later this year, as long as Robert Corbin remains leader of that party, and continues to dictate its policies.
If this wasn’t so serious, it would have been laughable. For despite what Granger wants his supporters to believe, the PNC will lose its identity when the new coalition party is formed, and even if David Granger emerges as the “consensus Presidential Candidate’, the road ahead will be much more difficult than the one Fip Motilall is now struggling to build. Here’s why:
Retired Army Brigadier David Granger may be a great choice for the PNCR with name recognition, but he’s not recognised as a politician.
He still has to come clean with the Guyanese people on the role he played in the 1973 seizure of the ballot boxes that enabled the PNC to rig that election, and this issue will not go away until then; he has to convince the electorate that he has the knowledge and capability to effectively manage the country’s resources to further enhance our economy; and he has to force Corbin to take a back seat and allow him to run his own campaign.
Time is not on his side. The bigger problem for Granger would be getting name-recognition for the new coalition party he may or may not be heading that would enable voters to easily recognise that party symbol in the voting booth. Again, time is not on his side to carry out such an extensive and expensive voter-education campaign that will be required.
Unification of the parties within this group will be another major issue, for the very reason that the Alliance for Change (AFC) has avoided joining forces with the PNCR.
They’re damaged goods, and it will be very difficult to convince those opposed to the PNCR to vote for a coalition party which includes the PNCR, even if the Palm Tree symbol does not appear on the ballot.
This idea of creating a new coalition party is a damning admission by the PNCR of its inability to win the upcoming national election on its own, and the recognition of the strength of the ruling PPP/C.
The PNCR now runs the serious risk of allowing the Alliance for Change (AFC) to emerge as the main opposition party when this national election is over.
We’re all aware that desperate times call for desperate measures, and so a desperate PNCR is hoping that the voters will totally disregard the 80,000 house lots that were distributed to low-income families; all the new roads and bridges, new schools and hospitals that were built; the tremendous improvement to education and healthcare; the electrification of small villages in Berbice and Essequibo; the soon to be constructed hydroelectric plant, and solar powered electricity proposed for 10,500 Amerindian homes.
The PNCR is hoping that sugar workers disregard the lucrative $5.6B sugar contracts recently signed by the European Union, and that rice farmers ignore the lucrative US$48M rice deal recently signed by Venezuela.
They’re asking voters to disregard all the development they see taking place around them, and vote for the same old PNC nicely repackaged as the new coalition party.
This is reminiscent of the story of the wolf in sheep’s clothing, but Guyanese are not easily fooled anymore.
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