The PNCR Congress and its leadership contest
It is interesting to observe the vigorous campaigning by some senior members of the People’s National Congress (PNC) as that party prepares to elect a new leader. So far, there appears to be two distinct frontrunners in Mr. David Granger and Mr. Carl Greenidge. Both distinguished gentlemen are eminently qualified academically and politically.
They also have considerable support within the party. The contesting ideologies of leadership that will continue to unfold as congress time quickly approaches will most likely produce distinct factions within the party as comrades support a particular candidate of choice. This is not to be scorned or discouraged. And Guyanese must be wary of the misinterpretations some might lend to this kind of healthy rivalry.
The PNC made history last year by allowing a version of primary elections within its ranks to select its presidential candidate. This attempt by the party not only demonstrated its democratic nature, but also highlighted its commitment to encouraging open challenges for leadership positions.
While some may argue that there have always been mechanisms in place for party members to mount challenges for the position of party leader, there have also been very suspicious activities surrounding the party’s democratic electoral processes for leadership. Dissatisfaction at the last congress regarding the process mapping of how votes were to be cast, counted and reported had left many within and outside of the party bleary-eyed, as they watched another congress saga unfold.
Not very long ago there arose in true Alexandrian style,a very vibrant group from within the party openly challenging its uninspiring leadership. The fallout from that ‘incident’ left some senior party members psychologically injured and disillusioned. Many thought that perhaps this faction might have broken ranks with the party. It was not to be.
Today the battle of the Gs is on and already there is talk of some form of bitterness in the PNC resurfacing. Is it really so? I would like to think that as Granger comes up against Greenidge, there is expected to be indelible ideological lines drawn. Strategies may even differ. However, these two gentlemen must present the membership of the PNC with clear visions of where they intend to take the party in the future.
PNC membership must elect the person they feel can best represent their interests and those of the people of Guyana. A thorough examination of how each potential candidate will significantly foster positive democratic change within the party, and have these changes impact the wider society must be done by party members before they cast their votes. The leader with the best strategic direction for the PNC must be elected.
The PNC ought not to become a victim of its internal rivalry. Members must openly agree, disagree and even agree to disagree. Regardless of the rivalry and contesting ideologies that individual candidates present to their respective support bases, the party and ultimately its members must ensure they preserve its image.
All public discourse by party members regarding their satisfaction or otherwise with a particular candidate or group within the party, must always be conducted in a respectful and dignified manner.