There was no intention of giving up power after the serpentine gods of APNU+AFC knew in the uncivilized hours of March 3 that they lost the election. There are no secrets in a small town. This columnist was told by the spouse of a person who was there that the next day of Wednesday, March 4 at the APNU’s campaign office some of these gods were in tears.
From there on the decision to stay in power was made. The plan was to shape the election battle as a zero-sum war between the two major ethnic communities and that given that familiar terrain the past 70 years, the international community will broker a deal between the PPP and PNC.
Armed with this strategy, the AFC fired the first salvo. It issued a press statement on March 30, informing the nation that its leadership has agreed to be part of an urgent dialogue between the two major parties to end the election stalemate through the establishment of a joint government. Please see my column of Saturday, May 23, 2020 with the caption, “Amna Ally is going to crucify Granger over Nagamootoo and Ramjattan.”
This attitude was generated by a March 10 publication in the newspapers in which WPA stalwarts living in the US, Moses Bhagwan and Eusi Kwayana, appealed to the PPP and PNC to form a joint government. So power-sharing or joint government or interim government was the inflexible position taken. Since the PNC and AFC bosses knew they could not sustain themselves in office with the kind of international pressure, the fervent hope was that at some point, the West would broker talks on sharing the government.
From the time Kwayana and Bhagwan issued that advocacy and the AFC was asked to strengthen it, a school of surrogates began to push the line that the 2020 election crisis showed up the depth of the ethnic fault line, and there can only be one solution. The school was populated by names like Lincoln Lewis, Mark Benschop, Henry Jeffrey, Rickford Burke, etc. These people shaped the denial of the right to vote by a country in the 21st century by adumbrating the irrelevance of election and the urgency of saving African Guyanese from Indian domination. I remember, being on a radio programme with Mark Benschop and Rickford Burke and Burke told me African people are annoyed at me criticizing African leaders. He did not say Guyanese leaders, when in fact during the election volcano, I penned more condemnations of Nagamootoo and Ramjattan than any other African politician.
By June, the APNU+AFC’s message was incandescent – they were not coming out of power.
The attitude to sanctions was flippant. Two factors were involved here. They didn’t believe sanctions would be imposed. Secondly, they didn’t believe the sanctions would be damaging. By July, all indications of attitudinal softening were dead. Granger spelt it out with clarity. He would only accept a GECOM declaration that was legally sound. Simply put, it gave him the excuse to stay on because he would argue that GECOM’s declaration was a violation of the law.
We come to the sudden denouncement of August 2. Almost a hundred percent of Guyanese were surprised by the sudden demitting of power. Two factors may explain it. One involved the extending of the visa scope. It is interesting to note that the Commissioner of Police went into retirement one day after the second wave of visas. My take on this is that he asked to be retired to stave off visa cancellation.
The second tranche of visa withdrawals began to hurt two sets of people – those in the police force and certain big people in state related jobs and close family members of the entire cabals within the kingdom of the PNC and AFC. As a spinoff from this, family pressure began to mount on Granger himself and other hierarchical personnel in both the PNC and AFC.
Once the Court of Appeal had ruled against Granger and company and the visa abrogation was intensified, fear became the key. Those state officials and family members thought that it would take months before the visa revocation hit them but it did sooner than they anticipated.
Once the visa net began to spread, pressure came down on individual PNC and AFC leaders to let go because the point of no return had reached – the West and CARICOM would not negotiate on a joint government. This columnist was told that after the Court of Appeal ruled, a very big one in the AFC called Granger to ask him to concede or he would go public with an acceptance of the results. The rest is history.
(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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