Kaieteur News – The PNC is facing one of the severest crises since its birth – can it survive? The world has many small parties that will never win a general election because it is permanently squeezed by its traditional gargantuan rivals. Two of the world’s famous examples are the National Democratic Party in Canada, which may never win the government, and the Lib-Dems in the UK.
The only route a small party can use to secure power is through a coalition, which is what the Lib-Dems did a few years back. This happened also in Trinidad and Guyana a few years ago. The PNC is not a small party. It is one of the two electoral leviathans in Guyana. But here lies the paradox. Can this behemoth ever win a general election after March 2020?
Here lies the nightmare the PNC faces. It is too early for the PNC to be displaced by the emergence of a dynamic third force. It is impossible for another organisation to emerge in four years’ time to come in second in the 2025 general poll. The question is, how well will the PNC perform in 2025?
It will not win for sure in 2025. There is one fundamental reason why it will not. Trust is completely gone from the mixed race and the Indigenous voters after March 2020. As for Indians, it may sound absurd but in 2025, the PNC will get zero Indian votes. Indians have a psychic distrust of the PNC. Psychic imprints are hard to erase but Indians were the factor in the APNU+AFC’s victory in 2015.
In the 2015 campaign, the PPP led by its energetic leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, sermonised Indians with the theme – do not trust the PNC you will regret it. It worked. The PPP almost won. AFC mustered enough Indian votes to secure the court of varnish in 2015 that separated it from the PPP.
After five years in power, Jagdeo’s 2015 theme resonated in every street in the entirety of the Guyanese territory where Indians lived. This columnist knows hundreds, yes hundreds, of persons who voted for APNU+AFC in 2015 but for the PPP in 2020. The straw that broke the camel’s back was not a day of rigging but five months of it. The beating of Indian people in September last year in Region Five and the March 2020 nastiness have permanently, and I emphasise, permanently, killed any recognition Indians may have had of the PNC being a decent entity.
As it stands, the PNC is not going back into power. It stands to lose African votes if it returns with the AFC at its side in 2025. Africans do not like the AFC. Guyanese, both Indians and Africans, think that the AFC should just fade away. The dilemma facing the PNC now and into the future is how to survive not just win elections. The PNC knows winning in the foreseeable future is out.
If the PNC continues with David Granger at the helm, it will haemorrhage support. Guyanese in general think Mr. Granger needs to bow out. His replacement is problematic. If the PNC rigs its internal election to make Joseph Harmon the leader it will severely weaken the PNC. PNC supporters prefer Volda Lawrence and in a fair selection of delegates, she will beat both Granger and Harmon at the congress. But Lawrence’s baggage weighs more than an aircraft carrier.
After the March 2020 psychotic descent of the PNC’s total leadership, it is best for the PNC to overhaul the upper crust of its leadership. It cannot do a complete overhaul because it cannot get that amount of fresh faces plus you need to retain those with institutional memory. But it should bring in credible names in three departments – leader, chairman and general secretary. If it is to avoid the severe loss of seats in 2025 that happened in 2006 under Robert Corbin when it dropped six parliamentary seats, then it must go in that direction.
Where to get that in Guyana is a Herculean task. Roysdale Forde is being consulted as the consensus leader. But I think he is damaged material because of his involvement with the election insanities. Outside of him, there is really no one with credible standing that can be tasked with preserving the staying power of the PNC.
It would appear that the best pathway to walk is towards the diaspora. Two factors should be an overwhelming presence in the consideration – a young educated person and secondly a woman. The PPP even if it does wrong things will not lose the 2025 poll because there will be no formidable contestant. The PNC needs to start planning for its survival ASAP.
(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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