Madness in the face of the enemy
An acceptable definition of madness is to do the same thing over and over again, yet expect a different result.
In 1961, two months before the PNC contested the general elections, Mr. Sydney King, then General Secretary of the PNC, had a public falling out with party leader Forbes Burnham. The PNC entered that election a fractured group and lost the elections. Several party members broke away with King who later became a founder member of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA).
Several decades later Mr. Hugh Desmond Hoyte suffered a similar fate when PNC strong man and senior central executive member of the party Mr. Hamilton Green left the PNC and formed his own political group (Good and Green for Guyana) GGG; this group later contested elections against the PNC.
Green, a popular party leader, took several party members with him and in the process fractured the PNC. The insurgencies continued throughout Hoyte’s leadership of the party as several young turks smelled blood and circled in for the kill.
After Hoyte’s demise, new party leader Robert Corbin suffered the same fate, when he and Central executive member and PNC Member of Parliament Mr. Raphael Trotman had a public falling out and Trotman left the party and became a founder leader of the Alliance for Change (AFC).
The PNC was further weakened as several senior leaders fought publicly in what many would characterize as nasty fights for political power and office. The schisms and fissures grew and Robert Corbin as party leader contested the 2006 elections as a weak candidate atop a house divided.
As the PNCR prepares for its 17th biennial congress, one can see the same players employing several of the same tactics that were used against Hoyte and Corbin in the fight for political power and party leadership. The viral letter writing that seeks to publicly destroy image and character. The social media disinformation and denigration, the lies and rumours have all gone into high gear as the usual suspects wage open warfare against their kith and kin.
The party battle song urges members to “hold the line of battle comrades link your arms in unity, organize and charge the forces of our…enemy….” But these insurgents who have been waging war within the party for the past 14 years don’t see the enemy as the PPP/C, no, these perpetual combatants point their guns inwards and wage a war of attrition with so-called friendly fire.
With APNU having the PPP/C in a defensive and weakened position after last November’s election, one would have expected that commonsense would have prevailed and the forces within the party would have rallied in unity to mount a formidable campaign to oust the “real” enemy of the people, the corrupt and anti-working class, anti-poor, race-baiting PPP/C.
But the tireless warriors for power, headed by their field General, have advised their followers that the leadership provided by Brigadier David Granger which brought them within sight of victory must be changed. Eight months ago they entrusted the entire country into his hands, presented him as suitable to lead the nation. He rose to the task and rallied a fractured party and nation, held together a ten-group partnership that energized the electorate and produced a parliamentary majority in the National Assembly (along with the AFC). Now according to these perpetual warriors, David Granger is not good enough to lead their party.
The great Santayana cautioned that those who forget the lessons of the past are doomed to repeat it…and if the past skirmishes for the leadership of the PNC teach us anything, it is that the public spats, the defamatory character of the leadership battles, and the ugly and insidious nature of the campaigns waged by the usual suspects, only serve to further erode public confidence in the PNC as a political institution in Guyana and further weaken the party base.
It is a turn off, and instead of winning hearts and minds, it scares good people away, who want no part of the ugly and crass name-calling, backstabbing and intellectual dishonesty that characterizes these battles.
Only in the PNC can a popular leader riding a crest of national popularity; a leader with an unblemished record; a leader who has made the party relevant again, be challenged by a man with no proven track record. In my opening I said that madness is to do the same thing over and over again, and expect a different result. I contend that the authors of these insurgencies must be madmen and women.
I ask, what have they gained from these insurgencies? How has their constant fight for power and personal office advanced the cause of justice and a better life for the struggling masses? How many more will have to be savaged, demonized and brutally destroyed before their campaign for leadership ends?
Losers lose and winners win, is an oft-used cliché, but the formula employed over the last 14 years by the usual suspects is a losing formula as evidence by their track record, but don’t tell them that, for they are convinced they are winning.