Guyana can be a funny place. Imagine, some persons are concerned that the PNC/R is becoming a one-man show, yet ironically these very persons by implication are attempting to convert the APNU into a one-party show.
The allegation is being made that the present leader of the PNC/R was instructed by his party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) to put on pause the admission of two new political groupings (if they can be called that) into the APNU. There is no confirmation that the CEC ever mandated such an action and it would be perverse to do so since the APNU is a three-party grouping and the PNC/R is only one of those parties.
How can the PNC/R put on pause something when it does not have control over the APNU? Unless those who are claiming that the leadership is in default of the CEC’s instructions believe that the APNU is the PNC/R and therefore the other parties are merely rubber stamps.
The PNC/R has long committed itself to coalition politics. It would not have been able to be part of the 2015-2020 government had there been a coalition with the Alliance for Change.
It was not the PNC/R which contested the 2015 elections. It was the APNU+AFC. Now to suggest that the APNU can be dictated to is to admit that it was a one-party show.
APNU has its own decision-making structure and no one has ever heard about the PNC/R vetoing it. What can be said is that during the APNU+AFC government, a number of the smaller parties of the partnership complained about no meetings of the APNU taking place and of them being emasculated from the decision-making process.
The PNC/R has no chance of winning in 2025. It has to hedge its bets on 2030 and it needs to be able to rebuild the party during that process. Granger is the man to do so and then step aside.
There is power struggle going on within the PNC/R. This is not unusual within any party. There was a power struggle also within the PPP/C when it came to choose the party’s Presidential candidate. Some political neophytes even jumped in the race and probably still harbour the illusion that they have presidential capabilities. That contest was decided by the Central Executive of the party and one man won convincingly.
The same thing is likely to happen within the PNC/R. Supporters do not elect the Leader. It is the members who do and these members come from all over the country.
Georgetown delegates may outnumber the other Regions but do not believe that Georgetown delegates alone can choose a winner. It does not work like that and not all Georgetown delegates will vote for one candidate. It did not happen at the last Congress and it will not happen at the next.
It is not known when Congress will be held. That event is not for the leadership of the party alone to decide in this instance. There is a Covid-19 pandemic in Guyana and while the active cases are declining, the situation is far from stable. The PNC/R will not be able to hold a face-to-face Congress in the near future and a virtual Congress will provide logistical challenges which cannot be overcome. So there will be no Congress this year.
But whenever it is held, the existing Leader will be re-elected if he so desires. History has a way of repeating itself.
Stronger forces have challenged for leadership in the past and have been defeated. The delegates of the PNC/R are not fond of political hotheads. And are suspicious about the politically ambitious!
David Granger is not going to be defeated if he decides to run again. The party’s members do not side with radical changes to the party’s leadership. They will prefer to err on the side of cautiousness.
It is the same in the PPP/C. Khemraj Ramjattan learnt the hard way about trying to bring about a change in the Constitution of the PPP/C. Another of his colleagues made the mistake and showed political ambition to become President. And he was side-lined until he was sidestepped.
Those who are throwing their hats in the ring for the leadership of the PNC/R will end up being humiliated. It has happened before; it will happen again.
(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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