Aug 08, 2020 Editorial Comments Off on The Honeymoon Weekend
This country has emerged, after a tremendous and unparalleled struggle over the past five months, into what appears to be relatively bloodless transition into the new government. As normalcy descends upon this country – or at least what passes for it – the tendency might be to forget the macabre nightmare to which this country was subjected to a very tiny group of people.
No doubt, this is the honeymoon weekend for the newly elected government, one where they enjoy their final celebrations and get down to the business of revitalizing the downward spiraling economy of a deeply divided country in the middle of a pandemic.
This is the honeymoon weekend for the opposition as well. It appears that the Coalition remains gutted and disconcerted not only at the loss of the elections but at the abject failure of its bid to rig the election after it discovered that it had lost. David Granger, the grand architect of that failure, seems to have learned no important lesson from his first term defeat. There is no longer even the posture of wisdom or integrity or decency emanating from his machinery or himself. The press releases he has issued, whether directly or behind the mask of his machinery, appear petulant, spiteful and delusional.
He, for example, repeats the fiction that the vote is not credible and insists on rendering the very declaration that he said he would respect and abide by in quotation marks, a juvenile punctuational jab at the legitimacy of the recount results. This is even more unfortunate considering that Granger’s punctuation has not been backed up by his much touted promise of legal action, namely an elections petition contesting the result. A full week after a declaration that he claims to be illegitimate, and despite strenuous claims of, for months, having definitive evidence of irregularities and anomalies – specifically dead and migrated persons voting – the former President has given no definitive indication of challenging the results via an election petition. Indeed, if anything, we have seen the reverse. A tepid statement last Sunday that the anomalies would “form the grounds for an election petition” has transformed into merely “The PNC will challenge the declared results lawfully” in yesterday’s address.
Which brings us to another observation of the direction the former President seems intent on taking his political machinery. In his brief presentation yesterday, Granger took care to repeatedly mention the PNC several times, separate and distinct from the APNU+AFC Coalition, or even APNU.
“The PNC wishes to repeat its appreciation,” Granger said, “to everyone who participated in the General and Regional Elections 2020. We thank every member of the Alliance For Change, Guyana Action Party, Justice For All Party, National Front Alliance and Working People’s Alliance who worked side by side with the People’s National Congress Reform…”
What should have been a contrite and conciliatory speech, acknowledging the reality of the situation, and outlining a broad vision for what he previously professed to be a politics of coalition and corporation, was instead a shrill screed announcing the primacy of the PNC, absurd posture considering the resounding defeat of a PNC-led incumbent government. Were his actions over the years seeking to clumsily and obstinately extend a PNC-military gerontocracy over public affairs not so patently obvious, one would be shocked at how quickly the “Big Benab” rhetoric of earlier this year has so rapidly shrunk in spirit and outlook into a tiny toadstool sprouting out of his government’s defeat. With Granger heading his party’s list, yesterday’s address can be a clear foreshadowing of his intent to sideline his coalition partners, both in the AFC as well as APNU, in the distribution of parliamentary seats.
Considering that the argument could be made that the Alliance For Change, which waged a brutal but unsuccessful war against Granger in the 2018 local government elections, followed by the fall of his government via the single vote of AFC parliamentarian, Charrandass Persaud, has outlived its usefulness to Granger, we can expect that this honeymoon weekend marks the final dissolution of the Valentine’s Day union, the Cummingsburg Accord, established five years ago.
There is of course, for the PNC, a far more damaging cleavage going forward. Granger is, because of his failure to provide winning leadership, facing a challenge for leadership of the party. For now, and for once, he has the law on his side, which means that it is he who has ultimate control over who goes into Parliament, a selection that will no doubt be based on competence or integrity or transitional leadership planning but whoever commits to continue to be wedded to his ambiguous and ill-defined agenda. Unless something is done, unless some takes this brief window of opportunity to correct the ship, we may well be faced with something almost as bad as a rudderless, incapacitated and ineffective government – a rudderless, incapacitated and ineffective opposition.
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