Former Deputy House Speaker and PNCR executive, Clarissa Riehl yesterday said she will likely quit the party over yesterday’s congress confusion and she described David Granger as “an aloof leader who stands aside” when he should be more involved in the management of the party.
While she told reporters yesterday that she has gotten such reports prior to the PNCR’s 18th Biennial Congress, she says her critique of his leadership style stems from his failure to take charge of the confusion which characterized much of the voting process at Congress Place, Sophia yesterday.
“For instance, this morning when there was a surge at the gate from the Linden people who were dissatisfied, I know any of our past leaders would go and stand there and say `come comrades let’s have order and we’ll try to sort this out’”.
Instead, Riehl said she observed Granger standing aside with one of his senior members and bodyguard just drinking water.
“I found that very strange. He should have been at the helm at every time, at every aspect of things, it don’t take rocket science to know that. You’re the head of this party. You’re supposed to use your authority to calm in a calming way”, Riehl, a former shadow foreign affairs minister said.
Riehl, who says she has not set foot in Congress Place since 2011, told reporters she renewed her membership and turned out to vote for Aubrey Norton as leader yesterday because she supported the idea that the party’s leader and its presidential candidate should be different persons. Such an arrangement, she suggested, would force the two to work together and would produce a better outcome for the people.
However, after what transpired yesterday Riehl says she may just quit the party.
She blames Granger’s lack of political mileage for what she perceives to be his shortcomings. Riehl, herself a former member of the women’s arm of the Guyana Defence Force, noted that while he is an accomplished military leader, the skills he acquired during his time in the army are different from what is needed to run a political party.
“…You have to hug people and shake hands and hug babies and talk nice to people… I’ve heard many comments that Mr. Granger is too stiff and aloof for the ordinary people”, Riehl, also a former magistrate said.
Confusion at the gate
In addition to the dispute with the Lindeners, there was also some confusion at the gate when several persons who claimed to be members were not immediately allowed to gain access to the grounds. “I never see this happen in hey yet,” one man commented after security officials refused to let him in.
“Who is he? He know me? He know wuh I do fuh this party, he know when I went in ghetto and thing. Where this banna been when I been pon concrete lying down and get lock up fuh this party,” another asked.
The security personnel were trying to explain to persons that registration was closed and that those without identification cards could not enter the premises. Several such persons nevertheless insisted they be granted access to the grounds and this prompted the guards to padlock the gate for a while.
As such, several persons who had identification documents opted to jump from the bridge to the reserve and walk around the ground’s front fence. At least two successfully made it inside before the guards caught on to the tactic. A third was stopped as she tried to follow suit.
Persons on the inside who had already voted were also prevented from leaving the grounds for some time after the gate was padlocked. At one point, a seemingly frustrated guard said, “leh Granger come and open the gate heself, me ain’t opening the gate…Some people have no documents. How I gon allow them fuh go in…These people know the rules I don’t know why they can’t follow it.”
As all this went on, and as word emerged that a gunshot was heard on the grounds one man was heard telling his friend, “I scared right now, I don’t know how all ah dis happening.”
Another irate man who was denied entry said “I now see why we getting lash yuh know, I now see why we getting lash. In (Forbes) Burnham time this wudda never lock…is best yuh switch and go hang yuh mouth weh de soup deh… they never lock the gate pon nobody…”