Why did PNC party office-holders appear on a platform for Granger when he is contesting for the leadership?
I write as a member of the PNC and a national candidate of the APNU in the 2011 election to support a letter published in the Stabroek News on July 17.
A few days after asserting that Guyana has no Father of the Nation, not even Burnham and Jagan, Mr David Granger, arrived at Bachelor’s Adventure two Sundays ago, and addressed some of the party faithful on his bid to be elected Leader of the PNC. At that meeting Ms Amna Ally, Mr Corlette, Ms Maureen Philadelphia, amongst other prominent members, were in attendance.
Although the Secretary of the local party group officiated at the meeting, only some of the members of the group had been invited. In the course of making his speech, Mr Granger warmly welcomed former minister, Mr Jeffrey Thomas, apparently an old friend, who arrived during his presentation. In fact, the former minister had not been invited to the meeting although he is a member of the very PNC group that called the meeting. Later Mr Thomas observed aloud that this was not the first time that this had occurred.
The PNCR Assistant General Secretary, Ms Amna Ali delivered a scathing attack on Mr Greenidge (which can be debunked), and what I may call his unknown incompetence and what was described as his unwarranted intention to lead the PNCR.
Ms Ally suggested that as a result of incompetence the former Minister of Finance facilitated the appointment of Ashni Singh’s wife to the position of Director in the Audit Office. This I believe is incorrect, misleading and impish, to say the least, thus these events and statements have the makings of a very problematic election. Incidentally, Mr Ramotar and Dr Luncheon according to a recent Sunday paper seemed to be suggesting that until Mr Greenidge and the AFC raised the matter, the PNCR representatives did not object to the situation, which is an equally mischievous claim.
Ms Ally happens to be an official of the PNCR and the PNCR Secretariat as well as a Central Executive Committee member. Is it really appropriate for her to be on the platform of one of the candidates contesting for the leadership of the PNCR? Is it fair? Is it decent? Why would an official of the party see fit to make a public attack on one candidate in support of another in such a crude manner?
Also seated at the top table with Mr Granger and Ms Ally were Mr Winston Felix and Mr Clement Corlette. The latter is the Chairman of Region 4. He is also the Chairman of the Credentials Committee and a candidate for the post of Chairman of the party. Even if he has not accepted the nomination what was he doing on a candidate’s platform? Why is the General Secretary allowing party office holders to behave in a way that would not be accepted by comparable Gecom officials?
After last year’s elections for the PNC presidential candidate, Mr Greenidge declined to publically criticise in the press arrangements for the elections prior to and during the count. It is widely believed, however, that subsequently, either he or members of his team wrote to the General Secretary and Leader of the Party concerning the activities of some party officials in support of Mr Granger. He described such behaviour as unprecedented in his time as a minister, and threatened not to participate in another PNCR Secretariat supervised election unless the flaws were remedied.
Mr Granger recently announced, as Chairman of the Congress Committee, that there had been no complaints about the arrangements for the Congress, including the elections. The activities and inflammatory, if not libellous comments of Miss Ally, a party official, cannot be intended to pass without comment from Mr Greenidge. Most puzzling of all, why is Mr Granger adopting this approach as part of his campaign while in his discourse he laments factionalism. If this isn’t sowing seeds of factionalism and discord then how can we blame the PPP/C of wrongdoing?
Mr Granger did not attack Mr Greenidge directly, but he spoke of division within the party. If Mr Granger and his supporters feel that he should automatically inherit the position, why did they not seek to have the party’s constitution changed? Why was an election announced if senior party members such as Ms Ally feel that Mr Granger has a birthright to the position of leader and the acceptance of nominations by others is undermining? As far as I have been educated politics is about elections and informed decision-making that would benefit the majority of people.
This behaviour borders on irresponsibility. The party has already distinguished itself by holding internal elections which, however flawed, were more transparent than those of the other political parties in Guyana, so why spoil this image? Does the party hierarchy believe that only a candidate of its own choice should be allowed to win a PNCR election? If so they are out of control.
Categorically, I note the silence of the General Secretary and the outgoing Leader in these circumstances, and I trust that the principals would over the next few days leading up to congress seek to address these issues and not squander this golden opportunity to show that the PNCR embraces the principles of democracy that we long to see being practised in other political parties locally and further afield.
Finally, I trust that Mr Granger, Ms Ally and team do not continue to bury their heads in the sand while Lindeners and the nation’s people continue to languish.