There was no need for the PNCR to manipulate its internal election two weekends ago to ensure the selection of David Granger as its political leader and/or to make sure a select set of party executives, who were close to and supportive of Mr Granger, were chosen. From all indications, based on conversations I had with party delegates as well as PNC supporters, Mr Granger would have easily won the leadership contest; the executive team of candidates would also have won handily. Mr Granger was preferred over those who announced they were challenging. Only Carl Greenidge had a serious chance of unseating Mr Granger as leader of the PNCR, but he did not contest.
The exercise has turned out to be a public relations nightmare for Mr Granger, his re-elected executive and the PNCR, and the party has not handled its PR well. Instead of vociferously denying the allegations of manipulation or claiming that it was the PPP which engineered events – a comical response – the PNC should have admitted there were flaws and set up a committee to investigate complaints and offer a recommendation on how to move forward. What happened renews peoples’ view of the PNC as a party that cannot be trusted with democracy. The PNC is well known as a party that never held a democratic internal election – not that either of the other two parties in the true sense of free and fair voting did not manipulate their internal election results too. Somehow, however, they tried to do it intelligently so people won’t look at them suspiciously. In the PNC’s case, it is alleged it was obvious. People have begun to cast doubt on whether they can take a chance with returning the PNC back to office. The PNC rigged every national election in the country between 1968 and 1985.
It is not too late for the PNC to apologize for what took place at its congress and to take steps to build confidence among voters by announcing an investigation and even consider annulling the results of the election and holding a new one in which all members would choose the leader and the other executives.
People want full democracy, not backroom deals and machine politics in which the leadership selection is manipulated.