The PNC creates history. It’s the AFC turn now
On Sunday, July 29, the changing nature of Guyana was laid bare in front of the eyes of its population. In the fifties onwards, the two major parties were led by virtual strongmen. No one questioned them. Every member was afraid of them. And they single-handedly supervised every single moment in the life of their respective parties.
If you were a high school graduate and the leader wanted to make you his assistant, you didn’t have to work for it. The party king anointed you.
Those days are gone. The two strongmen – Forbes Burnham and Cheddi Jagan, are long gone. Of the two Leviathans, the PNC has emerged as the more modern and democratic in how it determines its pyramid. For the first time since the fifties, the boss of one of these two national institutions, the PNC, has voluntarily stepped down. Not only was this a phenomenal leap into history but even more historical was that there was a competition among the hierarchy to be the headman.
There can be no greater expression of how Guyana is changing than this fantastic rejection of old politics by the PNC. There can be no alternative (and no genius in philosophy can argue otherwise), to the competition among people to lead their organization. The other pathway is for incestuous company. In this regard the PPP, the older of the two political parties, remain ossified in deadly backwardness.
For the 2011 elections, the PNC introduced primaries. This was the beginning of a new PNC and a new political culture. Some well-placed sources in the PNC war room told me the primaries may have been historical but there was manipulation that dented the fairness of the election. I honestly think that there is evidence to support that allegation. And the insinuation didn’t come from critics but from some PNC stalwarts.
Whatever truth there is to what occurred in those primaries it was a historic moment for Guyana when for the first time a political party in tragic Guyana took the modern step and allowed its leaders to vie for the top spot.
I attended one of those town hall debates and it was politically elevating to see a young James Bond telling the audience that he was the best candidate to lead the PNC into the general elections.
Will the PNC go the route of the PNC? It chose not to do so in the 2011 national elections. Maybe if it did, it could have won the poll. After twenty years in power, the PPP has come to see the Guyanese people as stupid animals that it can manipulate. But the population judged the PPP by what the PNC was doing.
If the PPP kings and queens could tell the nation since the seventies that they are freedom fighters, then why couldn’t they allow their members to choose their presidential candidate? And they thought that the Guyanese people were not looking and listening.
Of course, PPP leaders will continue to delude themselves that the society sees them as more democratic than the PNC yet their members have no say in how their leader is chosen. To make the situation more dangerous there was the asinine and imbecilic pronouncement by Bharrat Jagdeo and other PPP kings that consensus was a better route to take when the PPP chose its presidential candidate. In other words what Jagdeo meant was that the entire world its thousands of parties are wrong when they invite their members to debate each other for the party’s top spot.
No, the world and these parties are not wrong. It is Mr. Jagdeo who belongs to the ancient cave.
In a week’s time, the AFC goes into congressional mood. Up for grabs are leader of the party, the deputy slot, the chairmanship, the position of deputy chairman, the post of general secretary and the membership of the 16 executive committee. Every breath must be used by the present leadership of the AFC to encourage members to contest the top spots.
It was the bravery of Michael Carrington that led Sheila Holder to refer to him as a shoe repair man when he ran against Khemraj Ramjattan five years ago.
I am sure Carrington knew he would have lost but he was shaping his character when he took that dive. He must have said to himself that he was not afraid of the big names in his country. After that, Carrington must have become a more assured human being.
Some in this country do not like the PNC but the PNC created history last Sunday.