The Working People’s Alliance (WPA), a member of the governing coalition, today criticised statements by PNCR General Secretary Volda Lawrence among which were that only PNCR people would be getting jobs.
Lawrence made the comments at a Region Four conference and later apologised for any offence caused but not for the actual statements.
In a letter to Stabroek News today, the WPA also called for more “inspired” leadership from its fellow governing coalition partner, the PNCR.
The WPA is not surprised by the public condemnation and criticism of Minister Volda Lawrence, given the volatile nature of her unfortunate remarks at the recent PNCR regional conference.
As a member party of the APNU and the coalition government, the WPA came under tremendous pressure from our members, supporters and the public to speak out on this matter. It must be highlighted that Minister Lawrence’s statement came after the shock in the PNCR leadership from the party’s poor showing in the Local Government Elections (LGE), and amidst known concerns among many APNU+AFC members and supporters of their exclusion from employment opportunities and access to government contracts. We are also cognizant that the Minister has recently ascended to the “Chair” of her party.
With the above in mind, we felt that some space should be given to Minister Volda Lawrence and her comrades in the PNCR to reflect on the political consequences, for the APNU, APNU/AFC Coalition and the country of their decisions leading up to the LGE. In doing so we refrained from giving an earlier response. “ It is better late than never”.
WPA believes that the Minister’s apology should have been forthwith. It is appropriate that the Minister has found the maturity to accept responsibility for her utterance and the political damage to the Coalition , and the Government commitments to national cohesion, a non- racial/non- partisan approach to governance.
We note the virtual silence of the Minister’s party on the matter, which suggests the PNCR seems unable to demonstrate the necessary leadership initiative consistent with a party that wastes no time in proclaiming its paramount importance and its rights to political hegemony , but at the same time aggregating its responsibility to lead by example.
The WPA and its members like other small parties in the APNU has the first-hand experience with the logic that is inherent in the Minister’s stated employment philosophy which was consistent with an earlier statement by Minister Amna Ally General Secretary of the PNCR, in relation to APNU relations, that the PNC is looking after itself.
We would be politically naïve not to infer the political message inherent in these statements. While not contesting the race factor in Minister Lawrence’s statements, more disturbing to the WPA is that the almost identical remarks have been uttered by African and Indian leaders of the PPP/C with no reprimand from its leader and Head of State.
The WPA is of the view that Minister Lawrence’s statement has contributed to the further fragmentation of the coalition which we believe will continue to happen unless serious attempts are made to resolve the political discrepancies that have been allowed to grow and manifest itself in ways that are detrimental.
In these circumstances, the WPA demands a more inspiring leadership from the senior party in the APNU and the Coalition. One that is consistent with our Manifesto’s commitments to the Guyanese people. And is reflective of a political leadership that is mindful of winning the 2020 General and Regional Elections.
Working People’s Alliance