Political Scientists on Sunday do not expect that the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR)-dominated A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) would cede the mayoral post to the Alliance For Change’s (AFC) Sherod Duncan at internal elections due next month.
Former University of Guyana Political Science lecturer, Freddie Kissoon does not expect the APNU to move incumbent Mayor, Patricia Chase- Green after her first year in office because Guyana’s endemic political culture is largely about dominance.
The annual internal elections for municipalities and Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) are to be held before December 16, 2016.
AFC General Secretary, David Patterson said the matter is not on the agenda for his party’s next executive meeting, but it could be raised.
Kissoon reasoned that due to Duncan’s open opposition to her and APNU, it would send a message that “if you move me, the AFC will win.” “Why should we dump one of us for us who is a new comer? If they dump her it, it is not in the PNC’s interest to let Duncan rise because the AFC is on a downward slide,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.
Kissoon, who campaigned on the AFC’s platform for the 2015 general and regional elections, touched on PNCR leader- President David Granger’s unabashed loyalty and commitment to his party members such as the payment of former Prime Minister, Hamilton Green’s pension. “I do not think Granger is a corrupt man but I don’t think Granger is going to turn his back on the essentially PNC persons… He is not going to cast out people who are quintessentially PNC, he will ride out his criticisms,” he said.
Political Science Professor at Arizona State University, David Hinds said the upcoming internal polls is likely to see a behind-the-scenes arrangement between APNU and AFC but in the end the smaller of the two coalition parties would not get the mayoral post. In addition to an “unspoken arrangement” in which the larger and stronger party must have the top candidate instead of the suitability, he said the APNU would not allow the AFC to gain more political space. “I don’t see the APNU/ PNC giving up that top position to the AFC…Ceding that top spot is in a sense giving new life to the AFC because remember we have to begin to think going down the line for the next (general) election because I think they would have to look at that accord again and I don’t think they would want to strengthen the AFC going forward,” Hinds told Demerara Waves Online.
The Political Scientist said APNU is likely to perceive Deputy Mayor Duncan as an “upstart” who has “bucked the system” and went further than the AFC was prepared to go in challenging the APNU/PNC monopoly. “I don’t think they are going to reward him with the leadership even if there may be forces inside APNU let’s do a rotation,” said Hinds, an executive member of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) which is a member of APNU.
Hinds would not be surprised if a consensus candidate emerges as the next Mayor of Georgetown, the epicenter of political, administrative and commercial activities in Guyana.
Broadly, he argued that AFC is being sidelined by APNU because, based on the 2011 general elections, it obtained a lot of parliamentary seats in keeping with the Cummingsburg Accord . “When it comes to the real governance, APNU is monopolizing actual decision-making and making them pay for more than what they deserve,” he said.