My reliable source in the PNC hierarchy told me that President Granger, if he wins in 2020, will not sit out the full term to 2025. Things have overrun themselves, since I was given that information. It is a very valid speculation to make at this moment that he may not contest the 2020 poll. If Granger is not in the equation, Volda Lawrence as deputy leader by virtue of being Chairman of the PNC will feature largely in the contemplation of a presidential candidate for the PNC.
Let us rewind the tape to the two-man contest before Volda beat Joe Harmon. Harmon figured that if his credentials to succeed Granger – should Granger give way during his 2020 tenure – would shine brightly, then his status as deputy leader would help the catapulting process into the presidential chair.
Harmon knew he stood a better chance of beating Basil Williams, so the winner was a foregone conclusion. But guerilla warfare erupted in the PNC. A tiny but very formidable group does not want Harmon to succeed Granger as president (assuming that the PNC will win in 2020, and that is a colossal assumption). The guerrillas had to find someone to beat Harmon. The barrel is almost empty in the PNC. Of the two persons that could beat Harmon, Lawrence was chosen over Greenidge for one fundamental reason; she has the support of three crucial elements in the PNC.
First, there are the die-hard PNCites who feel that Lawrence’s physiology is older than Harmon’s, therefore the longest serving one should get the nod. The second compartment is a serious part of the PNC – the women members. Obviously, Volda would get their votes. The third dimension of the PNC’s anatomy is where Volda’s popularity is enduring – the “lumpen” elements. Harmon doesn’t stand a chance with them. They don’t know him. They know Volda very well.
For all his decades in the PNC, Aubrey Norton was literally stunned when he saw how that section of the PNC hunted down and hounded down Carl Greendidge during the contest for leadership of the PNC. There are videos of that incident in which Greenidge was called some ugly names for which those delegates should have been expelled from the PNC and charged for criminal threats. At that time, I thought David Granger should have apologized to Greenidge for the philistine descent of some of his supporters. Volda was very much visible when those elements were involved in a brawling confrontation with PPP picketers outside the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre when the Government decided to revoke the PPP’s lease of Red House.
The guerrillas knew Harmon could be stopped, and Joe’s heart almost stopped when he learnt that Volda had thrown her hat in the ring. I did a column on the ambience when she won, and described the type of scenes that prevailed when she was being congratulated. (See my article of Sunday, October 7, 2018, titled, “Sigmund Freud and the people who hugged Volda Lawrence.”)
The guerillas will have to continue their war against “Joe Shanlin” because Harmon now has an opportunity to fight for the presidential candidacy. Volda has run into the same quicksand that “Satyra Gyall” from the PPP dived into, when she went to the home of the US Ambassador and killed her political career. Volda has apologized for bringing to the surface of her mind some Freudian skeletons.
There is a gargantuan question mark that is so big that an aircraft carrier dwarfs in its presence. Despite the apology, is the damage so colossal that it has wounded Volda permanently? Forget about the AFC (they are as dead as the nails in a coffin); the 2020 APNU+AFC campaign is the PNC’s campaign to win the election for the PNC. Does the PNC have enough votes to take it over fifty percent? My answer is no. But the closeness to 51 percent in my opinion has receded since Volda showed her Freudian instincts.
What will happen now in my assessment is that Joe will invent his own guerrilla army. So there will be an intensification of guerilla warfare in the PNC. Volda will run. She will have her loyalists pushing hard for her. “Joe Shanlin” will definitely run, arguing that Volda cannot take the PNC over the fifty percent margin because she is damaged goods.
Are we in for a repeat of Eric Williams in Trinidad and Cheddi Jagan in Guyana? PNM big boys fought against each other after Eric Williams was gone and they settled for an unknown – George Chambers. PPP big wigs did the same and Jagdeo squeaked in.
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