People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Leader, David Granger on Monday insisted that parliamentary representation must be “earned” instead of being exchanged if there is to be true representation of elected leaders in councils or the National Assembly.
“Political power is not a gift , it is not a toy, it is not a plaything. It has to be earned. It is not an entitlement. It has to be earned by the votes of people who trust you and that trust is sacred; it must not be betrayed,” he told the opening of the Ranwell Jordan Congress House, a PNCR office and multipurpose facility at Agricola, Greater Georgetown. The late Mr. Jordan was Mayor of Georgetown who resided for several decades in Agricola.
He said political power exercised by elected representation in neighbourhood, municipal and regional councils and the National Assembly and the Cabinet are the means by which the PNCR can transform Guyana.
While he argued that political power is a contract and “sacred bond” between citizens and their elected representatives, the PNCR Leader Mr. Granger made no mention of the controversy between the PNCR-led APNU and the Alliance For Change (AFC) over his political organisation’s failure to abide by an agreement with the smaller coalition partner, but stressed the link between votes garnered and actual representation.
“Comrades, public trust cannot be bartered. It cannot be transferred. Public trust has to be earned ballot by ballot, candidate by candidate, constituency by constituency, seat by seat. That’s the only way, that’s the only way,” he said. Citing the importance of the “representational principle,” he said elected officials represent constituencies and groups.
Seeking to justify his reasoning, the PNCR Leader referred to the fact that seven “minor” political parties that contested the March 2, 2020 general elections mustered a total of 8,772 votes, one thousand more than his estimate of 7,000 votes to elect one parliamentarian. The PNCR Leader said his party’s 217,000 votes at the general and regional elections indicates “what kind of effort we had to put in.” “Parties must remember that, that political power is not a gift in which you could just share out,” he said. He insisted that every party must work hard to get their votes.
Mr. Granger cautioned against political parties deciding who should be their elected representatives. “They cannot inflict or impose a candidate on a constituency if the constituents haven’t chosen him or her, if they don’t know him or her. It will be a perversion of the principle of representation to say ‘look ah sending somebody to represent you’. Noooo!! the person has to be chosen by the people. They have to trust him or her,” he said.
The AFC, at its national executive committee meeting on Sunday, did not hide its dismay at APNU’s failure to stick to their accord that the Vice Chairmanship position would have gone to the AFC. In the end, when the councillors voted it was an APNU representative who got the nod due to what APNU General Secretary, Joseph Harmon subsequently said had been due to a “breakdown in communication.”
The AFC had wanted Neilson Mc Kenzie to be Region Four Vice Chairman, but after the councillors’ votes were tallied APNU’s Samuel Sandy was voted into to that post.
He called on councillors and parliamentarians to communicate with their constituents to resolve problems and take them to the ministries.
The PNCR is celebrating its 63rd anniversary, having been founded on 5th October 1957 by Forbes Burnham as its leader and Joseph Pryag Lachmansingh as chairman.