OPINION: PNC considering no coalition partners in 2025 (a jest, is it?)

Last Updated on Friday, 5 July 2024, 19:43 by Writer

by GHK Lall

The PNC has publicly stated that it is considering contesting the 2025 elections without coalition partners. There is some wisdom to that, but admission follows quickly: the mathematical logic is lost on me. Perhaps, the PNC knows more about this than I, has some secret assets in its bag. The PNC has made its position clear: the presidential candidate must come from within the party, must be one of its own. No quibbling, no hedging, no backstrokes or freestyle swimming with that pivotal position. My response is simplicity itself: that is the party’s decision to make, its business now set in stone. In leader Aubrey Norton’s hands, a word has been deposited, which has caused raised eyebrows. It is “solely” as enshrined in that sprawling resolution. Whatever the origins, it so airtight, foolproof, and vacuum sealed, as to be incontestable and untouchable. I should be so anointed. In leader Norton’s hands now rests maximum strength. Whether it is so, or isn’t, the party has pronounced, and there is no place for a peasant of my stature to take offense. I don’t. Other than the sound of it, the meaning of it. My focus is riveted on ‘considering no coalition partners’.

What is it that I know about Guyanese politics to lecture, suggest, even correct the PNC brain trust. Pardon me, but no consideration and no coalition registers with me as more skull and bone and less brain. Though admittedly ignorant of the nuances and magics of Guyana’s politics, I do know a little about mathematics and its smaller branch: statistics. I know a little of geography also (or is it sociology?) and as such pertains to demographics. In a small but bitter and potent teaspoon, where are the numbers, comrades? Perhaps, there are high, very high, expectations and conclusions about the groundswell of dismay across the political divide, that other non-PNC netherworld of local politics. In my shiniest crystal, PPP disgusts against their own who lied to them, misled them, and made utter mooks of them. For the enlightenment of the foreign contingent, especially the Exxon royalty now parked here, mook is Guyanese for moron. Yeah, it could be that the PNC intelligentsia and PNC groundwork have confirmed to the PNC professors of the local political game that that untapped motherlode of hanging voters (hopefully not chads) are theirs for the asking, for the picking. Perhaps, the PNC is calculating that the numbers needed to take it into the winner’s enclosure are going to flow from the Venezuelans now here, and about whom nobody in Guyana knows how many of them are truly around. And, most crucially, how many are eligible to turn up at a polling station. No proxies, please, and no mailed-in ones from Caracas. I have some bad news for the PNC, if such is part of its calculation: the PPP got to them first and they had a fistful of goodies. Money. ID cards. Other Spanish language enticements. Frankly, I don’t think that the PNC can compete for those votes, which only Jagdeo has in his head (and back pocket). GECOM may have electronic lists; the PPP has its own lists. In short, Venezuelans for Votes (V4V) are mostly for the Chiquita PPP.

Moving on, I now insert two thoughts into the conversation. Both have to do with current non-coalition considerations. The first stares in the face. Tighten it or loosen, analyze any way that suits, and the result is unchanging. The PNC doesn’t have the numerical strength to take it to the front of the electoral line; therefore, the present posture seems rather suicidal to me. Without a doubt, in the manner of all political groups, the PNC is sure to head into campaign mode with fevered pitches and spirited positions about its probability of victory at the polls. Though going it alone is a head-on challenge (a losing one), I ask myself if this is to lay the groundwork for a repeat of what has been occurring since August 2020. Put differently, the party was robbed at the polls. Disgruntled supporters would have a basis for growing even edgier on being told by party signal callers that they have been cheated (again). Five more years in the barren political wilderness would then take on a different complexion. But this is where contesting all on its own by the PNC leads me. So, there is this mounting animosity – terribly unsettling, certainly – that becomes more deeply knitted into daily Guyanese existence. When people lose hope, and what comes to them confirms their worst fears about inequity and imbalance, then the enemy within is not the new and real one, but the one that Guyanese have known from day one. No losing PNC supporter is focusing on Exxon and company, then he or she is looking at their political competition and seeing the source of all their woes. In brief, this distracts from sharply directing all attention at Exxon, and redirecting such at traditional domestic opponents long held as enemies. All of this is to the benefit of Exxon and the detriment of this nation. If the PNC team has done sustained legwork and fieldwork outside of its known strongholds, all this is moot. If, on the other hand, the party has not done enough, barely made a genuine effort beyond scratching the surface, then its positioning does not make sense. There is little to support it.

The second contemplation is whether this ‘considering contesting without coalition partners’ is nothing but a nuanced bow either to America or Exxon. Don’t go full out and full strength, as the time is not right. It is a troubling proposition, but reality leaves little choice. Is this another way to perpetuate election farces? Is this another season of building up supporters’ hopes and then dropping them off a cliff? The gut says something is not right with this no considering of coalition partners’ stuff. It is half-cocked and half-cooked, probably half-goofy, too.