I read Freddie Kissoon’s article, (“Is the PNC dead?”) and as much as I was tempted to share in his pessimism, I refrained from doing so. Some facts are irrefutable; there are serious schisms within the PNC; there are personalities within the PNC who in their quest for power and personal aggrandizement are destructive; the questionable status of the party leadership; the lack of activism.
The list seems dreary and gives little reason for celebration, yet in this political season, it is the PNC that has captured the imagination and engaged its membership and supporters in a democratic process aimed at selecting its presidential nominee.
This primary process has attracted some genuine intellectual and political heavyweights like Brigadier General David Granger.
In the Diaspora, especially in North America, this process has awakened many dormant PNC supporters, and caused many old cynical stalwarts to re-engage.
New groups have been formed, people are contributing money to the candidates of their choice, websites have been built, and social media (FB, Twitter etc.) are abuzz with information and candidate manifestos.
Regardless of what happens at the polls or at the party congress, the PNC have changed the political process by which major political parties select their presidential candidates.
The fact that of the field of potential nominees (one of whom is a woman), none are household names, and notably absent are the usual suspects (lurking for leadership opportunities), bodes well for the party and the democratic process in Guyana.
The PNC must therefore seize this moment to reinvent itself, building on the current enthusiasm and support by those of us in the Diaspora.
Freddie Kissoon’s eulogy is premature but understandable. The party has lost its old swagger.
The old stalwarts have neglected the base, choosing instead to fight among themselves over leadership.
Now, tainted and scarred by their unproductive skirmishes, this elite group provides fodder for the cynics and the critics.
But the primary has provided a pulse, and the prognosis is good if the party continues to engage its members, builds its base and selects someone like David Granger; a proven leader who can be a bridge builder to the many factions.
This election will not be about the PNC, but a referendum on the 18 years of PPP rule (misrule). The PNC must put the PPP on trial, making them answer for their almost two decades in Government.
The Jagdeo administration must run on their record. This should not be about Burnham, or Hoyte, or the 1973 shootings, or past rigged elections.
The PPP must not be allowed to turn this into a racial fight pitting Indo-Guyanese against Afro- Guyanese.
This should be about who has the best plan to move the country forward, which group can provide the leadership to solve the social ills and form a government, that is a government of laws not men.
If this does not happen, then Freddie will have to write two more eulogies. God help us!
Mark A. Archer
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