The choice of PNCR leader is of concern to all Guyanese
Any decision as to who the next PNCR leader will be of course is of significant concern to all Guyanese. In fact when the former GDF military commander Mr David Granger became the PNC’s presidential candidate for the 2011 elections it was a shocking surprise. Why on earth would a prominent political party which hopes to replace the PPP/C by winning over Indian voters wave a red flag in their collective faces? With the PNCR failing to select and elevate from its talented candidates chief among whom were a former Finance Minister (Mr Carl Greenidge) and a prominent female international civil servant (Dr Faith Harding) it demonstrated its disconnect with Guyana’s political realities.
Apart from being associated with the era of rigged elections and the shooting of ballot-box protesters, Mr Granger has absolutely no government experience or grounding in how democracy works. Mr Granger’s entire career has been conditioned to giving orders within a militarized mindset with the expectations of a salute, about turn and absolute compliance. Certainly not desirable assets for resolving Guyana’s problems.
Granted that any day, an economist like Mr Greenidge was a better candidate than the military Mr Granger because he was an experienced former Finance Minister, he was still damaged because he was associated with the days of the banning of foodstuffs under the PNC. In elevating Mr Granger, the PNC demonstrated its inability to respond to pressing Guyanese electoral sensitivities and race problems. With its 2011 candidate the PNCR had a chance to acknowledge ruining Guyana with its 28 years of deprivation by apologising and signalling its intent to move away from its past, just as the PPP/C did in choosing a total newcomer in President Bharrat Jagdeo to succeed the Jagans. Not many, for example, seriously expected the ornamental non-candidate Mr Donald Ramotar to become Guyana’s president. To his credit Mr Robert Corbin had also seemingly moved the PNCR away from violent street protests, which Guyana absolutely needed. He had also emulated the PPP/C’s presidential candidate formula whereby he still held the party leadership, and is doubtful that he will relinquish it.
Where is the PNC astuteness (died with Mr Forbes Burnham?) which caught everyone off guard by their brilliant nomination of the total newcomer, high court Chinese judge Mr Arthur Chung for first President of Guyana, when the PPP nominated its loyalist PPP cofounder Mr Ashton Chase? Mr Granger’s 2011 promotion by the PNC obviously prioritised an immediate preoccupation to recapture its base which had defected to the AFC and WPA rather than any consideration whatsoever to attract Indian voters.
So far the PPP/C has outstripped the PNCR in pioneering both Guyana’s first female Prime Minister, President and a youthful President gifted in economic management. And while it is an open secret that both the AFC’s and APNU’s coffers are empty, the AFC has only made matters worse for itself by serving as APNU’s vanguard. What hidden wisdom debunks the inevitable conclusion that it‘s on the way out like all Guyana’s previous smaller parties? After the PNCR failed to harness the charisma and decency of Mr Raphael Trotman, look what he accomplished after he left?
Readmitting an expelled Hamilton Green who reminds us all of PNC decadence while putting forward a military man for national leadership is no PNCR signal for remorse, reconciliation, harmony or even shared government.
Whoever it is the PNC selects, it will telegraph its plans for Guyana’s future. Will it empower Granger by making him PNCR leader, or will it continue to follow Corbin’s sober moving away from violence and disruptive street marches as party leader, or will it simultaneously reabsorb Trotman to fuel an apology for its past actions? It could boldly and completely break from its past with the unblemished female candidacy of Dr Faith Harding, similar to Mr Burnham’s brilliant nomination of the late Mr Arthur Chung as Guyana’s first President. Mr Burnham’s brilliance could not have been also eternally entombed at Seven Ponds.