The Working People’s Alliance (WPA) will soon disclose who it supports for the APNU+AFC coalition’s President and Prime Ministerial (PM) candidates at the upcoming general elections but President David Granger has the support of party executive David Hinds.
Hinds, however, believes that a woman should be the PM candidate and should come from one of the smaller parties, possibly the AFC.
“The WPA will officially make its position known in due course. So, I can’t speak for the party at this point. But in my personal capacity, if the coalition is facing the electorate in its current configuration, I will support President Granger as the presidential candidate,” Hinds told Stabroek News on Thursday.
The PNCR and some of the parties under the APNU umbrella have already indicated their support for Granger to lead the coalition into elections. The AFC will soon decide.
“Since Mr Granger is African-Guyanese, I feel strongly that the PM slot should go to an Indian Guyanese. It is both common sense and ethnically correct. Since Mr Nagamootoo seems to be going in retirement, Mr Ramjattan is next in line. Ideally, I would go for an Indian-Guyanese woman outside of the PNC. Such a candidate, especially if she is relatively young, would change the face of the coalition and breathe new optimism into the wider society,” Hinds said.
The WPA executive asserted that the issue of cohesion must be visual and demonstrative since even after 52 years of independence, many have not matured from ignoring ethnicity to voting on policies. Parties ignoring that fact have seen results to their “own peril,” he said.
“Our society is an ethnically grounded one in which ethnicity matters most, especially around elections and politics. It is something which we ignore at our peril. Our politics have not matured to the point where we can ignore ethnicity,” he said.
Hinds was quick to explain that his support for Granger is not on the basis of race but because he believes that he is an honourable man who sincerely wants to unite all races and has served for three years without any allegations of personal corruption. Granger has advocated for social cohesion, he said, and has pleaded with Guyana’s citizenry to ignore race-baiting as they work towards building a unified country.
“When I look at all the potential candidates, I think he is the only one that will both galvanise the base and not turn off independents, including Indian-Guyanese, Amerindians and non-PNC African-Guyanese. Some of the others appeal to independents but do not turn on the base. Some turn on the base but turn off independents. Granger, I think, is the only one that can do both. It has a lot to do with the perception that he is a decent man who is not corrupt and who to some extent is not going to be unfair to other ethnic groups. I don’t think a majority of the general population thinks that he is racist. He is not a man of scandals. I share those perceptions. To my mind, these are priceless attributes in our toxic political environment,” Hinds said.
“The second reason why I support Granger is that it is tactically sound for the coalition to show unity around the top of the ticket and to give the country a sense of continuity. To look for a new leader now, after less than one term, would be suicidal. In other words, while some in the coalition, including this commentator, may have some difficulties with his style of leadership and with some of the decisions he made, those are not enough to deny him a second term if he is up to it,” he added.
Hinds said he believes that the PM position should go to the AFC even if a review and changes to the Cummingsburg Accord sees that party’s parliamentary seats reduced. “Clearly the Cummingsburg Accord would be amended or a new one would be worked out with the AFC. My prediction is that the AFC would and should be given the PM slot even if its share of the parliamentary and Cabinet seats is decreased,” he said.