Our society has many problems, two of which are politicians’ disrespect for the masses and their lack of humility. Having read Kaieteur News’ account of what happened in Linden on Friday, October 10, 2014 during a meeting held by Mr. David Granger, some pointers are forcefully brought home. Refer to “‘You are not welcome here’ – disgruntled Lindeners tell Granger”
1. According to Mr. Granger regarding the protest by Lindeners, “This tells me that there is a substantial number of members who are still interested in the Local Government campaign and in APNU while there are some only interested in causing disruption.” Were Mr. Granger to recognise and appreciate that elections are ultimately about numbers, and assuming he truly desires victory he would see the lack of wisdom and shrewdness in this statement. In elections every, single, vote counts (the APNU should know this given the almost GECOM/Goocool Boodhoo counting fiasco).
In an election the so-called disruptive have a vote, they can influence their families and friends to vote and who to support. It is troubling Mr. Granger is ignoring this reality, causative relationship, and multiplier effect. Or is it to be concluded he feels he needs not work to win the heart and mind of every voter in Linden because the town is named after Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham and the PNC’s votes are assured? Or is he taking for granted the residents’ statement that “We are still diehard PNC people”?
The party and partnership need every supporter and member boots on the ground, to whip up support, knock on doors and influence persons to cast a vote for them. When you are treating your most influential resources (i.e. foot soldiers) with disdain how do you expect them to be motivated to campaign for you?
By academic certification Mr. Granger is a historian and it is not expected that he would be unaware of the 2006 elections where the PNC lost votes in Region 10 and the AFC won a seat (though GECOM gave it to the PPP).
2. The people are saying they “wanted Granger to understand that the people of Linden are not at all happy with the way the Chairman and Councillors are being sidelined; neither are they happy with the imposition of a Coordinator, Sandra Adams.” Mr. Granger may or may not agree with these statements. But what is of consequence is his continued failure to meet with the people to iron out their concerns, be they real or perceived.
The Chairman and Councillors are your management team on the ground and if you cannot have a working and respectful relationship with them, or treat them as your equals, how is Mr. Granger expecting these persons to relay the party’s or partnership’s positions, mobilise and rally the people around his leadership? His evident disrespect for this tier of leadership (party and constitutional) is a breathing ground for fracturing relationship and turning away voters.
3. Lindeners are saying- “If you want to do something for Linden you have to consult with the people who living up here…Granger would not be welcome until he deals with outstanding issues.” This is not hard for Mr. Granger to achieve if he can only recognise that his power and status is not promotion and rank driven as in the army, but are people given. And if the people have given him political power and status, they can diminish these or take them away. This is not a complicated issue to understand. How therefore is Mr. Granger failing to delineate the issues (military vs. political) and see the nexus (the reliance on the people for his political power/status)?
4. On Vanessa Kissoon, the people said “and we want him to sort out the Vanessa Kissoon issue as well.” This is an issue that has been badly handled from the start and makes Mr. Granger an uglier politician and leader the longer it remains unresolved. And resolution does not mean forcing a person to disregard long held statutes that guide the party’s administration in order to butter another’s ego or protect your pride.
5. Mr. Granger said “a contingent of just about 30 people caused ruckus outside.” It seems as though sensitivity, real or contrived, has been stricken. But in the real world of politics stuff happens and this is normal political occurrence. You are protested by your supporters and opponents. Barack Obama and USA politics are living examples piped into our homes daily. Political survival and humility necessitate you see such expressions as issues affecting people and how you can address them. Not shut them out, as Mr. Granger seems comfortable to inform “…they were not allowed in….”
6. Though Mr. Granger is guided by what he said, “[Sharma] Solomon is an ordinary member of the PNC and so is [Leslie] Gonsalves and Vanessa Kissoon. They are not Party officials but they are preventing some officials from performing functions.” He is ignoring some fundamental political survival tools here. Solomon, Gonsalves and Kissoon may not be “Party officials” according to him, but they are, I repeat, they are collectively elected leaders of their party groups, major opinion shapers and leaders, regional chairman, regional councillor, trade unionists, educator/teacher, members of the party, and member of parliament. Make no mistake, these persons are influential and consequential!
These ‘ordinary people’ as Mr. Granger wants to believe hold tremendous sway in their communities. He is ignoring that the persons he is side-lining can figuratively lift him on their shoulders with the support of their following or they can leave him to walk in the shifting sand, where he will find no foothold. They can deliver for him! You don’t isolate, disrespect or ignore them because they don’t measure up to your perception of rank or class or dare to accept nomination to contest for Party Leader. Among the residents, students, parents, party members and supporters, working class, and rank and file they have significant following and in politics this means a darn lot!
7. “The political leader [Granger] said that other councillors attended the meeting as well as several other people of Linden.” Mr. Granger said more than 50 people attended and about 30 people were protesting outside. Leslie Gonslaves said about 16 people attended and more than 60 were barred from entering and therefore protested outside. There are glaring disparities on numbers here, that aside, PNC and APNU meetings in Linden are known for having hundreds and thousands as seen from media reports. Evidently, Mr. Granger could not mobilise or attract these numbers even as he informed the meeting was advertised and handbills and radio were used as tools. This should tell him something.
What is however most significant is that Mr. Granger refuses to get the picture. Reading Stabroek News it is learnt Gordon Callender, Leslie Gonsalves, Douglas Gittens, Mayfield Greene, Charles Sampson and Fern McCoy were all locked out of the meeting and were on the streets prevented from entering by the police. These persons are councillors. Media reports also said Sharma Solomon and Vanessa Kissoon were not at the meeting.
Mr. Granger’s disrespect for others and his lack of humility will negatively impact the opposition and PNCR. With elections around the corner he needs to demonstrate the political astuteness that would result in resolution of festering issues and rally the electoral around an alternative to the PPP. The responsibility is his to get it right.
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