Kaieteur News – We have arrived at a curious irony. The PNC will be tabling its perspectives on reforming the governance system as the months unfold but it needs to advance solutions on its current leadership impasse. This article offers some proposals.
The Aubrey Norton team has to face the reality of how David Granger and Joseph Harmon feel about him just as the forces of colour and class have to accept that Guyana has an election system and the PPP won the last contest in March 2020. Now to accept what so graphically exists in a country is bound either to weaken your psychological integrity or reduce you to irrelevance.
At the level of the PNC’s ontology, Granger does not accept Norton as being leader of the PNC. Granger feels he is not the type of philosophical material to head Forbes Burnham’s party. Mr. Granger was not chosen by Robert Corbin but by Rupert Roopnaraine with support from Clive Thomas. It shows the kind of class thinking that went into the decision to have Granger at the top of the PNC.
Given his love of Burnham, his need to preserve Burnham’s legacy, Granger will not accept the type of politician like Norton to lead the PNC. As president, Granger had no use for Norton. Granger now has the power to decide the shape of Norton’s role.
It has nothing to do with vendetta, revenge or dislike. Mr. Granger is psychologically fixed on the acceptance that Norton is not the type. Granger is not going to favour transitioning Harmon out of his role. Norton does not have the legal advantage to remove Harmon as the opposition front-man. He does not have the votes to topple Harmon in a no confidence vote.
There are hard choices to make by both Harmon and Norton. If Norton chooses to cling to the illusion that the leader is numero uno in the world of the PNC then, he knows nothing about politics. There is a Leader of the Opposition from the PNC and he is not Aubrey Norton.
To ensure the PNC survives and become an effective opposition, here are the configurations that must be given consideration. Norton steps down as leader and is assigned a parliamentary seat. Harmon resigns as Opposition Leader and remains in parliament.
Both Harmon and Norton must agree that the PNC will appoint an interim leader from among its parliamentarians until the next congress. That person will be the Leader of the Opposition. Both Harmon and Norton will then work together with the interim appointee to become a triumvirate.
Norton cannot reject this direction on the claim he was elected. Harmon will counter that with the argument that David Granger was elected by 215,000 votes to be the leader of the opposition and he chose Harmon within a legal framework that is foolproof. The only way that legal edifice can fall is for Granger to give it up. He will not do so to let Norton take Harmon’s place unless there is a quid-pro-quo.
The person who will hold both interim positions should not be problematic since he/she will be part of a triumvirate and not have total control. If there is a fuss it will revolve around the question of who is pro-Harmon and who is pro-Norton. Four names I will propose because I think none of them will seek hegemony. The only sticky dimension of the candidacy of Geeta Chandan and Ganesh Mahipaul is that they are Indian. Can the PNC accept an Indian leader even if it is just for two years? Of the two, Mahipaul has more experience. Mahipaul worked closely with Norton in the 2015 elections. Chandan worked closely with Harmon in government.
The sticky dimension of Chris Jones’ candidacy is the perception in the society that he is part of street politics. He has been tainted with his association with Sherod Duncan. Society thus sees him as a combination of Rickford Burke, Mark Benschop and CN Sharma.
The third option is Roysdale Forde. He is without baggage and is the best lawyer to grace the PNC after Burnham, Sir Shridath Ramphal, Mohamed Shahabudeen and Fred Wills. I don’t think Llewellyn John, Desmond Hoyte and Basil Williams are in that category. In fairness to Winston Murray, he did not live long enough for his skills to be judged. In fairness to Corbin, he has not been at the Bar consistently because of political duties so it is not easy to make the comparison.
Maybe Norton and Harmon will not be happy with those names and we could see intense bargaining. Whatever happens, the clock is ticking and the life of the PNC is at stake.
(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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