President’s North American speech will stimulate discussion on arrangements for 2020 elections

Dear Editor,

President David Granger, leader of the People’s National Congress Reform {PNCR), A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the APNU+AFC coalition, while addressing the North American Chapter of the PNCR in Georgia, USA, made what is likely to be seen as one of the most important and, to some onlookers, disturbing political addresses to the PNCR party faithful since he became President of Guyana in 2015. During his presentation Granger shook up his audience and I will add Guyana, by his pointed questions for the consideration of those attending the conference.

Stabroek News in its November 6th 2017 edition in an article, captioned, “How PNCR will retain office after 2020 ‘big question’ – Granger tells North America conference” – quoted the President as saying “And whatever you will choose to discuss today and the weeks and months to come, I think there are several questions that you have to ask yourself as you look to the future. You have to ask yourself ‘how the PNC gained office in 1964?’ Ask yourself ‘how did the PNC remain in office and what did it do during that year?’ Ask yourself how the PNC (regained office) in 2015 and ask yourself how the PNC would retain office after 2020. These are big questions. This calls for work of our members in all regions”.

What has surprised political pundits is the fact that the speech was not confined to the PNCR’s inner party circle, but was also exposed to the public. In my view this was a calculated political move by President Granger that was designed to influence the tempo of political discussions in Guyana, particularly within the APNU and the APNU+AFC coalition.  What the President hopes to achieve by this initiative is hard to predict, but, whatever it is, it will have lasting consequences for the nation, one way or the other.  To my mind there are two possible scenarios to the President’s actions. The first is that he is attempting to gauge the public’s response to a “strong inclination” within the PNCR to contest the 2020 General and Regional elections, outside of the APNU framework. This position is easily assumed when it is realized that in the reports on his speech emanating from the conference no mention was made of APNU. The second possible scenario is that President Granger has used the forum to push back against pressures from within the PNCR, for that party to contest the elections alone, something that he may not be in agreement with.

What is unquestionable is that the President’s North America speech has now “officially” signaled the beginning of discussions in Guyana by stakeholders in general and in particular, political parties, on the political arrangements/alliances that should be pursued for the 2020 General and Regional Elections.

Yours faithfully,

Tacuma Ogunseye

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