Last Updated on Saturday, 18 December 2021, 11:20 by Denis Chabrol
Outgoing leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), David Granger on Saturday slammed those who have been fomenting division in the party, even as he issued a stirring appeal for party unity and discipline.
“Congress should teach the lessons of the Party’s past rifts and the excruciating experiences of its leaders. Congress’s task, in this decade, is to sustain solidarity by knitting groups together, not splitting them apart; by building up, not breaking down; by multiplying membership — not dividing and subtracting — thereby promoting public trust in the Party ,” he said in his prerecorded final address to the party as he is in Cuba for medical treatment for a cancerous condition. The address was not played at the opening session, as is customary, but to delegates who are participating virtually.
Aubrey Norton and Joseph Harmon have each fielded slates in what is regarded as the most hotly and openly contested elections in the 64-year old history. Dr. Richard Vanwest Charles has said that he did not believe in the creation of a slate as it can lead to factionalism. According to internal party documents seen by Demerara Waves Online News, only the Chief Election Officer Vincent Alexander could ultimately address disputes about “the voting process” and declare “final results”.
Mr. Granger said the PNCR could achieve much by changing its political culture by “suppressing schisms and factionalism for the common good.”
He said party members now realised that the present decade demands their rededication to the people’s development and “should not be allowed to become another period of personal rivalry.” ”
They realise that respect for the Party’s Constitution and Congress; recognition of the roles of elected executive officers and observance of the common codes of civility do not impede personal freedom. Rather, they ensure that everyone could contribute to the consolidation of the Party.”
Reflecting on factionalism that has plagued the PNCR over the decades, he chided those who seemed bent on festering division. “Some persons seemed not to accept that the ‘Party’ was more important than any ‘personality;’ that they were elected to office not to satisfy their private hunger for wealth or their personal passion for power but to serve the people who they represented. The Party has a sad record of revolt,” said Mr. Granger
Mr. Granger cited Jai Narine Singh, the first General Secretary, as someone who allowed personal and political ambition to smother Party allegiance and broke away to form the Guianese Independence Movement party; Sidney King, (later Eusi Kwayana), also a former General Secretary who broke front the PNC in 1961 and helped to establish the Working People’s Alliance; Hamilton Green, another former General Secretary , broke front the Party in 1993 and established the Good and Green for Guyana; Raphael Trotman, an elected PNC Member of Parliament, broke from the Party in 2005 and established the Alliance For Change.
“The Guiana Independence Movement, the Working People’s Alliance, the Good and Green for Guyana and the Alliance For Change all wounded their ‘mother’ party !,” he said. Mr. Granger had had a less than healthy relationship with the WPA in A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), but he had unilaterally appointed Mr. Trotman as Minister of Natural Resources when the APNU+Alliance For Change coalition had won the 2015 general and regional elections.
Meanwhile, outgoing Chairman Volda Lawrence announced that she would not be contesting for office at Saturday’s elections.
Mr. Granger’s critics regard him as timid, weak and indecisive, but they and his supporters alike agree that he is honest and credit his administration with a lull in rampaging death squads, narco-trafficking and a cleaner physical environment.