Kaieteur News – I received several inquiries about my column of Friday, April 2, 2021 titled, “PNC will have to rig its own election to stop Volda Lawrence.” Some folks asked if I do not think that Granger has more moderation in him than Lawrence. They said that since I painted Lawrence as the bully machine in the PNC refusing to concede, then the PNC should not elect her as its leader.
I agree. But reality in the political world, anywhere on Planet Earth, is not something we mortals can shape and reshape based on our feelings. The brutal reality out there is that she has the votes to win if the two battle for the hearts of the PNC membership.
One of the queries I got was who I will back if Lawrence squares off with Granger. It is a difficult question. Every bad person has some qualities that stand out when you compare them with another equally bad human. Both Lawrence and Granger have done some “positive things” that make a choice of who should be the PNC leader a daunting task.
I believe Lawrence prevented extensive instabilities in Guyana when she went to Region Five and mollified the heated heads of African Guyanese who were bent on creating mayhem last September following the murder of the two cousins at Cotton Tree.
The intention of the PNC was to use the two homicides to generate ethnic violence on a national scale to send a message to the PPP government after Dr. Irfaan Ali was sworn-in as President. Harmon and Granger went to Region Five to execute a strategy that all Guyanese would have been depressed with. Their instigations led to attacks on East Indians.
The strategy was two-pronged. One was to get African villages to come out and confront Indian people. The other part was to hope that after being attacked, riled up Indians would retaliate and Guyana would have had an environment of civil war. In fact, couriers went to African villages to get folks to protest. Buxtonians did not agree. Indian villages in Region Five on the other hand were ready to fight even though PPP leaders were pleading with them not to.
In fact, Indians from Bath Settlement had already armed themselves to march for a violent engagement. They were so angry that they beat an East Indian businessman to death who wanted to pass to go eastward and in frustration fired on the crowds.
Lawrence then undid what Granger and Harmon set out to do. In that context, she played a crucial role in stopping what could easily have deteriorated into ethnic conflagration. See my column of Friday, September 11, 2020 headlined, “Volda Lawrence has shown phenomenal courage and leadership.”
The negative side of Lawrence is disturbing. She took the lead in refusing to concede defeat. Even if we detest Granger, he was not as hard-lined as Lawrence and surprisingly, Cathy Hughes, during the five-month crisis in 2020. I agree that Granger was just as determined to hold on to power but he was not as inflexible as Lawrence. For example, Granger faced the wrath of the PNC’s hierarchy when he agreed to the CARICOM decision as enunciated by Barbados’ PM, Mia Mottley, for a recount to be done.
There are still hidden dimensions of the recount decision that may never come to light and maybe a few words here and now could help. I think Granger agreed to the recount in a high-risk gamble. He thought that Jagdeo would have rejected the recount and insisted on the re-examination of Region Four votes only.
Granger showed immense political infantilism in thinking that Jagdeo would say no. Jagdeo had the statements of poll and figured that any recount would have to rely on them. And that is what the CARICOM recount team did. After Granger knew that Jagdeo had outsmarted him, I think all the PNC and AFC leaders agreed to scuttle the recount by asking the court to rule against it. In the context of the recount manouvres, there is no difference between Granger and Lawrence.
In the end, the election mess came to an end due to Granger only. He could have fought on, clinging to power as Lawrence wanted. If Lawrence had her way, Guyana would have been in a comatose state as I write this piece here. It was Granger who took a different pathway. I think most Guyanese know he dropped her from Parliament because of the torrid and vituperative confrontations they had from March to July in 2020. So who is my choice? I don’t have one and not interested in having one.
(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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