New PNCR executive needs to get rid of maximum leader approach

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 September 2021, 12:30 by Denis Chabrol

Political Analyst, Dr. Henry Jeffrey.

The new People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) executive that would be elected at that party’s next congress slated to be held before year-end should embrace a collective or rotational leadership model instead of the decades-old maximum leadership style, Political Analyst Henry Jeffrey said Wednesday.

Reasoning that the PNCR’s “major problem” has been its decision-making rather than who is the leader, Dr. Jeffrey said it is time to reform its own constitution to get rid of the maximum leader system. Instead, he said the system should be structured to reflect Guyana’s ethnic makeup and  have a collective leadership system. “You can focus on a collective leadership in various ways, still having your maximum leader or you can have a collective leadership in terms of the rotation of leaders over a period of time,” he said on News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM’s ‘Beat The Clock’ morning programme.

The PNCR’s long-overdue congress is scheduled for late November but no later than December 13, 2021.

Dr. Jeffrey, who had been previously associated with the PNCR, said the leader of that party has always had a history of making decisions with little or no consultation as well as which parties it should coalesce with. Incumbent leader David Granger has been accused of this posture by a number of current executive members, particularly since entertaining two unknown parties under the banner of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).  “You are definitely setting a process for undermining the party’s strength even as an individual,” he added.

Leader hopefuls Aubrey Norton and Dr Richard Vanwest Charles have said they would like to bring back the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) into the APNU.

He brushed aside the replacement of Mr. Joseph Harmon as Opposition Leader as a priority for the PNCR, instead insisting that the decision-making apparatus has to be first fixed. “If you get that right, well then whosoever turns up to be the Opposition Leader having the cooperation with the entire party behind them, as a party the leadership of which represents the broad make-up of Guyana,” he said.

Mr. Harmon, who had been parachuted rather than elected to the PNCR’s executive, had won the nod by the APNU and Alliance For Change to the post of Opposition Leader. During his recent absence, Attorney-at-Law Roysdale Forde had been performing the duties of Opposition Leader.

The former University of Guyana Political Science Lecturer said a strong and broad-based PNCR Executive is required to reach out to masses and other fora. “What the PNC needs now is to have a process that would put on the ground people to do work that has the backing of the entire country,” he said.

Concerning the importance and relevance of ‘back-channel’ informal communication between the PNCR and the governing People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Dr. Jeffrey said that mode could be used to address log-jams such as the non-recognition of the Irfaan Ali-led administration by the APNU+AFC. “That is useful even at this point in time but, as a consistent political process, ‘back-channel’ would not work because politics have to have levels of transparency, participation; it has to come upfront to make political sense in our times,” he said.

With the PNCR Leader on leave-of-absence, its Chairman Volda Lawrence is performing the functions of leader. Mr. Granger has still been maintaining a quasi public presence through his weekly Public Interest programme.