Since the announcement by Robert Corbin that he will not be the presidential candidate and the push by the Murray camp at the last General Council for a date by which the presidential candidate of the PNCR should be identified many have announced their intent by going to the public domain.
The resolution which was passed called for an all inclusive group to be appointed to arrive at the system, procedures by which the candidate would be identified. A nine-member Committee was identified, six of which were members of the Central Executive, the entity who would have to approve of the system proposed by the Committee. It is important to note that none of these members had recused themselves from the discussions on the matter at hand, when it was discussed by the Central Executive.
More so the lone outsider David Granger participated in three meetings during which the report was formulated more or less completed and then decided to announce that he will be a candidate. Now Mr. Granger can give his explanation to nursery school children and even they may not believe him that he had no intention or interest in the post of being the presidential candidate.
Be that as it may, the difference between the Committee identified to arrive at the system and procedures and the Murray camp seem to be the critical issue of a wider involvement of the membership in the electoral process as against the holding of a Special Congress. Representations were made by Winston Murray; Aubrey Norton and Richard Van West-Charles on this matter. But it does not appear that their representations have not had the courtesy of a response.
Murray together with the members of his team, Van West-Charles, Kads Khan; Aubrey Norton; Jeffrey Thomas; Malcolm Parris etc all , at that time expressed the view that in the interest of deepening the democracy within the Party they should embrace the one member one vote principle as against the one to 10 representation for a Special Congress. Additionally the bad taste of the last two Congresses would not be in the party’s interest of proceeding with the said machinery under the direct control of the leader and his operatives. What has emerged so far is that they had agreed to proceed with the nomination process, while there would be discussions as to the approach with the electoral process.
So the nomination process has started though not well organized, as evidenced from the problems which have arisen in New York. Clearly that was unnecessary since the rules had called for a maximum of six nominations and the fact that there were more than six it was quite a simple matter. But the inappropriate actions by two members of the Central Executive, one of which was a member of the Presidential Committee were such that the basic principles of democracy were ignored.
What is more surprising is that David Granger, a candidate, supported the undemocratic process adopted by the two members. Even the dates for the nomination process seem to be shifting. Clearly the processes which are not being adhered to by the groups gives a signal of an ominous sign as to what is most likely to come with the electoral process.
The election process still has to be decided and this is where the PNCR needs to understand that this is make or break. What is so difficult in having their 8,000 members participate in a fair, transparent and just process to elect the presidential candidate? Would this not be a better approach with greater currency? Where each candidate would agree and whoever wins comes out as the candidate? Additionally what percentage should the winning candidate command out of the process? Should it not be at least 50% of the voter population? This move would be a leadership position by the PNCR in relation to the change in the political culture of the country. The Murray team had suggested that there should be an Independent Election Committee to oversee the process and that the eligible voters should have a picture identification for voter verification. Why is there resistance on this basic issue which has to be adhered too at the national level? What is the fear of the Central Executive and more so the Leader Mr. Robert Corbin; Mr. Basil Williams; Mr. Cammie Ramsaroop, that they cannot ensure that this basic principle is taken on board? These three men named are supposed to be legal practitioners and yet they cannot muster the strength to ensure one iota of fairness. I am surprised at Cammie Ramsaroop. Some may react and say that the process of having each member vote is going to be costly. Well this is based on an assumption that the election must be concluded on the same day.
Let me propose that Regions 3; 4; 5 and 6 can be held on the same day. Region 7 and 10 can be held on another day and Regions 1; 8 and 9 where the numbers are small can be held on a weekend. The ballots would be in the safe keeping of the Independent Electoral Committee. This is not rocket science, but it requires the will to ensure that the democratic process is deepened and that the membership of the party can participate in the process. No one can state that the participation of the broader membership is not better that a representative process of one delegate for every 10 members.
How serious are Granger; Williams; Harding Greenidge; Van West-Charles; Khan; Norton and others if they do not appreciate that a vote by every member carries greater currency than one member representing 10. After the vote by all the members the Special Congress can still be held to ratify the vote at the local level as done in the United States of America. Is the PNCR serious? Can they not see how self destructive these actions will be to ignore the membership at this critical juncture in the history of the Party?
I appeal for good sense to prevail. Let our members vote. But they must vote after each candidate would have had equal access to the membership to share his/her vision for the party and the country. No barriers must be in their way, but it must be the responsibility of each candidate to meet with the membership and share their vision. The Secretariat and the Regional Committees must be even handed and not favour any candidate by inviting one candidate and not the others to any event. Let’s be brave and make the change which will propel us to victory.
“True peace is not merely the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice’’, Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
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