Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), David Granger has appealed to party members to stop attacking him and instead unite for the common good of that 60-year old political organisation.
“I think the time has come for people to stop attacking the leader of the party as a past-time as cake-shop or rum-shop gaff and establish a truce between the membership and the leadership,” he said.
Granger, who remarked that he is a PNCR member for 52 years and he is no stranger to struggle, identified “solidarity” as a key ingredient for building the party. “I don’t say so because of myself but because of the office and I I do not know of any situation in which these vitriolic attacks on the party’s leader actually help to build solidarity; I think they help to undermine,” he said.
Urging party faithful at the North American Region to accept the principle of party solidarity, he cautioned against constant bickering. “The party cannot be strong if it is weakened by constant harping or my rumour-mongering. The party cannot be united if it is divided by rivalry and factionalism, by disloyalty….” he said.
Granger, who is the President of Guyana, noted that he was the first party leader to have been elected by ordinary members and said anyone was free to challenge him at the polls. “I only became leader through one route- that is elections- and if the membership of the party doesn’t want me to be leader, remove me not by going to a football game in Linden and recruiting members but by going into ” several villages.
Later, the Guyanese leader added that two persons, who had challenged him at PNCR’s primary elections for leadership are now Vice President and Senior Minister, evidence that he does not bear malice. “Two of the strongest rivals are now colleagues in the Cabinet…I don’t hold grievances and grouses, you know. I don’t try to attack and destroy my enemies. The PNC is one and if you have a role to play, if you have a contribution to make- it’s the party that matters not personal prejudice,” he said.
Part of his strategy, he said, is putting his ideas in writing to allow persons to agree or disagree and that the party’s direction is endorsed by Congress, General Council, Central Executive and conferences such as the one held last weekend by the PNCR’s North American Region.
He recommended that steps be taken to attract young people to the party, engage in continuous mobilisation rather than merely for elections, establish Congress Houses in communities and in North America, produce more publications, pay attention to migration and re-migration to serve Guyanese, and engage in outreach activities.
Stressing the importance of unity, he recalled the period when Hamilton Green led several PNC members to form a splinter party named the Good and Green Guyana (GGG), and Raphael Trotman left the PNCR under the leadership of Robert Corbin, a period of “almost in a state of permanent insurgency”, to form the Alliance For Change (AFC).
The PNCR Leader felt very strongly about party defectors, even to the point of telling Green how he felt about his decision to form a rival entity. “Perhaps, the greatest wound that our party suffered was the secession of a huge section of our party, calling themselves Good and Green, a deep wound and I say so to Hammie’s face. You don’t do that to your party. If you can’t agree, walk. Don’t break,” he said.
After Green was expelled from the PNC in 1993 following a disciplinary hearing, he had taken with him several PNC members and supporters including Odinga Lumumba, Basil Williams, Joseph Hamilton, Llewellyn John and Patricia Chase- Green to form the GGG and win a plurality of votes in the 1994 local government elections.
Years later Hamilton departed from the GGG and embraced the PPP, while Williams, John, Chase-Green and Hamilton Green returned to the PNC fold under Corbin’s leadership.
The President said the PNC was founded on a number of philosophical principles including egalitarianism in which common folk are not spurned. “Those are the people who come out in their numbers to support our party and we cannot abandon that egalitarianism. We cannot establish an elite party,” he said.