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After the worst loss in the history of the PNC in 2006, its leader and presidential candidate, Mr. Robert Corbin, became the most vilified political party leader in the history of Guyana. He was accused of being bought out by the PPP and a stooge of Bharrat Jagdeo. Yet Corbin went on to quietly reorganise the PNC and delivered the first electoral loss to the PPP in 2011. With Corbin very much in play, after some more reorganisations and compromises, in collaboration with the AFC, the PNC went on to take government in 2015. However, the reputational blow Robert Corbin suffered in the pre-2011 period was not erased because he recognised and took what is usually the hard decision for many to take: the party had sunk so low that he had to resign as leader if the party was to develop the necessary traction. He did.
Jagdeo had similar treatment. After the 2011 loss he was lambasted by his comrades for running a high living corrupt regime, dictatorial leadership and choosing a weak presidential candidate he could control. Jagdeo paid no mind to such talk, claimed that the 2015 loss was a result of elections manipulation and went on to choose another presidential candidate (who, if the party faithful were to be believed, was the worst in the history of the party) and take government in 2020. If from 2011 David Granger was the genius and Jagdeo the buffoon, the tables have now turned. Jagdeo is the wizard and Granger the dangerous incompetent. Mind you, in terms of electioneering, Granger might even have the edge. He could claim to have defeated the PPP twice and lost once. Jagdeo has taken two elections and lost two.
Generally, these large ethnic parties do not have to care too much about what their supporters think as they know that when elections arrive they will largely rally to their side. However, as matters now stand, Granger has succeeded in splitting the party by the autocratic manner in which he distributed positions after the last general and regional elections and some are predicting that under his leadership another 2006 is in the making. However, in 2006 the AFC that took most of the votes from the PNC appeared a genuine budding independent alternative.
The PNC is an important national institution that will realign, but it immediately needs to create and sell a winning vision to Guyana and more specifically to its supporters, if it is to be effective. Simply presenting Mr. Granger as a man of high political morality will not do: were it not for my determination to keep these articles brief, I would have demonstrated that he is no better and in some ways he is worse than those he has followed into the offices he has held. Photo ops on one’s knees in church do not make one virtuous. A virtuous political leader vocalises about and acts morally at every stage in the political process. Perhaps it is the absence of such national leadership that has presaged the general moral abyss churchmen are predicting. The party leadership needs to focus less on the divisive shenanigans and subterfuges of the past and conceptualise, organise and struggle to do politics in a manner that will allow all Guyana’s citizens to flourish and live well.