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Mar 18, 2020 Features / Columnists, Freddie Kissoon
The question is not maybe. There is no maybe about it. The PNC (not APNU) is currently in the throes of a power struggle over the way out of the election malady. It appears at the moment that the Granger faction is losing ground to a powerful cabal that is not prepared to concede defeat and will not concede defeat.
I will refer to the Granger group as GG and the other cabal as VT meaning Volda Lawrence and Raphael Trotman, because they are the key players in the second faction. How did these two compartments develop?
After the Mingo declaration of March 4, the sailing was smooth inside the PNC. Granger was to be sworn in but the court granted an injunction. The PNC still remained intact as a cohesive unit because the thinking was that the court would discharge the order and allow for the presidential installation. So confident was the PNC that Harmon took to television to announce an imminent swearing-in soon after the dismissal of the injunction.
This was not to be. The mistake the PNC made was three-fold. One – the Mingo announcement of March 4 was too disgraceful to be accepted by world opinion. Two – international actors had pronounced the Mingo figures as fraudulent. Three – it would be hard-pressed for any decent court to entertain the Mingo depravity.
Up to the time of the ruling by the Chief Justice – that Mingo must go back to the table with floodlights shining on the statements of poll – the PNC was united that it will brave the international sanctions and swear in Granger, because GECOM and Mingo will repeat March 4 on March 13. That happened, and thus was born two factions inside the PNC that demarcated the lines to be drawn.
VT, which includes Harmon, was livid that Granger was not sworn in on Saturday night. But Granger didn’t want to be sworn in. Reeling from the criticism of his powerfully placed son-in-law, Dominic Gaskin and the rising crescendo of international voices, Granger became ambivalent about his future as president. Uncertain as to if he will be allowed to govern, if there will be constant domestic and international vexations, if his presidency will survive biting sanctions, and if he will be a figure of derision and hate in the world, Granger found a way out.
Allow CARICOM to revisit the entire national vote and if the PNC loses, it has an acceptable way out. It is possible that someone from GG leaked this option to the Stabroek News, because the paper editorialized on the acceptance of that pathway by Granger. In calling the Barbadian Prime Minister, it seems the die was cast. We refer to this as the Mottley arrangement. But an incendiary cabal emerged in the PNC, with unmitigated hostility to the Mottley pact.
This writer was told voices were screaming against the Mottley arrangement with words like, “let them bring sanction we will face them when they come.” What was born as a reaction to the Mottley arrangement was a ménage à trois in Guyanese politics – VT inside the PNC, four actors in GECOM, and the police force. It is this ménage à trois that is currently derailing the recount at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre (ACCC). What is actually taking place in Guyana right now is a putsch.
Since the sabotage of the ACCC recount, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the American media and indicated that the fraudulent election will see strong American reaction. These consequences the VT cabal knows about, but will not give in – thus the injunction that stopped the Mottley arrangement yesterday. Here is the likely scenario. Even if the court discharges the injunction, there will be maximum delay of the recount. Introduce emergency measures due to the coronavirus. Postpone the recount. Let the CARICOM team leave. Remain in power. And take it from there.
Right now Granger is an isolated figure in the PNC. It doesn’t seem that many inside his grouping will go for the swearing in, even if the court upholds the injunction against the PPP’s challenge, because they are mortally afraid of international sanctions that will come from the Americans as well as the OAS, Canada and the EU.
One of the weakest fulcrums of GG is that VT is in charge of GECOM, and the police force is taking commands from personalities inside VT. Once VT is fixed on a swearing in, GECOM and the police force will not follow the instructions of GG to resume the ACCC recount.
Guyana is virtually in the grip of a putsch and heading for the precipice, with the Venezuelan military watching with hawkish eyes.
(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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