Sep 15, 2010 Letters Comments Off on The fight to preserve the status quo of the PNC
I write with reference to D. Benn’s letter in KN, Sept. 8h: ”Is Murray just a means towards an end for Dr. Van West Charles”.
I recognize also that D. Benn’s is part of a letter writing campaign that involves B. Beniprashad Rayman, Lurlene Nestor, Sonia Clarke, Winston Robinson – all trying to attack the character of Dr. Van West Charles and to label his efforts to reform the PNC as somehow “destabilizing”, and “subversive”.
All the letters are legalistic and pedantic; all seeking to defend the party elections of 2009 against allegations of fraud – conceding there were election irregularities but claiming they were not substantial enough to produce a different outcome; all citing the “losing” candidate, Winston Murray’s concession statement as proof that the election was valid and should be acceptable.
These defenders of the status quo are confusing the trees for the forest, and while the trees make up the forest, they are not the whole forest. Van West’s movement is a whole lot more than just about trees -fraudulent elections, it is about the whole forest – reforming and reinventing the party.
I shall respond to three statements in D. Benn’s letter.
(1) “The motives of Dr Van West Charles now appear dubious and organised to exploit Murray as a victim under the Corbin-led PNCR”.
Does it make sense to accuse Van West of “exploiting Murray as a victim under the Corbin-led PNCR?” If someone is seeking to overturn the results of a fraudulent election, by what strange logic could he be trying to exploit the defrauded candidate?”
Van West has produced a report documenting the fraud. Let D. Benn dispute the facts of the report.
(2) “This campaign of Dr. Van West Charles has a subversive overtone and will only serve to disrupt the party that has the best chances of leading an alternative government”.
The PNC lost the 1992, 1997, 2001 and 2006 elections, simply because, as an Afro-ethnic party it has no appeal – and no platform – to attract support from other ethnic (mainly Indian) or otherwise defined constituencies. The PNC has absolutely no chance of leading an alternative government. D. Benn’s statement defies logic.
The AFC, the only other party with any following (six seats in 2006) has declared unambiguously that it will not enter a Peoples’ Partnership with the Corbin-led PNC. The goal of Van West is to reform and reinvent the PNC with a new image and a new broad-based platform catering to the needs of all racial and otherwise defined constituencies, to make the party more relevant to the changed political and social environment in Guyana.
If D. Benn thinks such a goal is “subversive”, let it be.
(3) “Van West Charles is no new politician and no stranger to Guyanese politics. He knows only too well that destabilizing the PNCR works in the interest of the PPP and the AFC”.
This charge is a heavy one, almost tantamount to treason – but it is ridiculous
and false. Broadening the support-base and strengthening the party can hardly be seen as “destabilizing”.
There can hardly be any doubt that D. Benn likes the idea of ethnic parties and ethnic politics – and is prepared to defend the status quo.
All national movements at one time or another undertake minor or major reforms to be relevant to changing political values and environments. Again if upsetting the status quo is deemed “destabilizing”, let it be.
The PNC is fast becoming a lunatic fringe party. It cannot ever win an election if it continues it promote itself as an Afro-ethnic party – and if it continues to be wedded to its unwritten rule, namely, only an African can be its leader. Blindly following this rule is in itself the party’s death knell in a country that has a unique racial breakdown.
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