We are months away from a general election. One of the persons likely to become president is the man who is the president since 2015. Any analyst or commentator has an obligation to the media house he/she works for, to assess the president who wants to lead his/her country again.
I remember when Bharrat Jagdeo came to power, our iconic elder statesman, Eusi Kwayana, wrote a perfect letter. Perfect in the sense that all Guyanese had to embrace the sentiment of giving this brand new leader of young age, and without any kind of baggage, an opportunity to lead his country.
Kwayana urged Guyanese to give Jagdeo a chance to govern. Guyanese did and Jagdeo currently competes with Forbes Burnham for the award of Guyana’s most autocratic head of state.
Guyanese did not know David Granger as a politician before 2010. He certainly was not an activist in politics Guyanese were aware of.
I remember at the south/eastern gate of the High Court, PNC personality, Clarissa Riehl telling me what she had already said publicly – as a leading figure in the PNC, she never heard about Granger in her party. She echoed this sentiment when he became leader of the PNC.
Mr. Granger did not have a smooth introduction to leadership. He contested against two large names who were former PNC ministers – Carl Greenidge and Dr. Faith Harding. The latter claimed that the elections were shaped to favour Granger. Greenidge lost by a mere 12 votes.
It was not a good showing for Granger, because Greenidge was out of the memory of Guyanese. He left to work in Europe after the 1992 national election and stayed there for more than 20 years. Many PNC ranks have told me that they thought Corbin manoeuvred Granger into the leadership during that PNC congress. In the 2011 election, there was no PNC. The party was subsumed under the title of APNU. The PNC regained the five parliamentary seats it lost to the AFC in the 2006 poll.
I think that if there wasn’t APNU, David Granger as PNC leader would not have recaptured those seats. APNU excited the imagination of PNC constituencies because the party of Walter Rodney had settled its difference with the party of Forbes Burnham. In 2015, Granger became president and the sentiments of Kwayana in relation to Jagdeo reverberated all over Guyana. This columnist supported David Granger in many of his articles since 2015. I no longer do, because I think the Granger presidency has failed Guyana. The PNC and Guyana need someone better than Granger.
This column will have to be continued, because space would not allow for the concatenation of failures of Granger as president. I offer a few instances. He has to be condemned for assenting to the cynical, depraved, almost surreptitious salary increase for his Cabinet and non-Cabinet ministers, weeks after power was attained. A decisive, sensitive, caring leader would have stopped it.
Secondly, it remains an act of political cruelty, with few parallels in modern Guyana, to retrench 7,000 state employees in the space of months in the sugar industry and not immediately pay them their legal entitlements and not offer them alternative employment or land for them to make a living.
Thirdly, he approved of a project that was a total waste of money and which has no bearing on developmental programmes. Granger’s adventure into D’Urban Park was just as silly as Jagdeo’s descent into the Marriott Hotel.
Fourthly, his enigmatic reluctance to face the press is an intentional act of insult to the Guyanese people. A Prime Minister or President must talk to the nation through the media as often as possible. Three press conferences in four years should cause one to question Granger’s eligibility to govern a troubled nation like Guyana.
I will leave out his enormous PR disasters and his colossal mistakes in the area of constitutional politics since the no-confidence vote. Between December 2018 and August 2019, Granger demonstrated no leadership. Elaboration is for another column.
I will end with a harsh judgment of his leadership qualities with the example of UG. Let me be pellucid and unambiguous. And when I do, let me state that I don’t care what is said about me. I never did and never will. So here goes.
Presidents Burnham, Hoyte, Janet and Cheddi Jagan, Jagdeo and Ramotar would never have allowed the prodigious wastage of money and one-man hegemony that were perpetrated on UG under the leadership of a person Granger chaperoned into that office. No sane mind could contemplate the insanity that went on at UG in the past three years. If Granger were a fit and proper president, he would have stopped that madness. More later!
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper)
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