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To many Guyanese, especially supporters of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) it came as no surprise that David Arthur Granger declared on Mark Benschop radio an intent to run for Leader of the Party. Granger, who has lost popularity with many party members and supporters, is facing a rising call that he should step down from political leadership and allow the Party to regroup under new leadership to confront challenges of an aggressive and morphing dictatorial People’s Progressive Party/Civic regime.
Whilst Granger would have had some successes in government there is the belief, he has demonstrated no capacity or willingness to stop or even challenge the PPP. The PPP/C has recently made a mockery of the main Opposition for not being a forceful and effective opposition in parliament. And though one may want to say the nature of the two parties is different, and the high drama, political feralism, and lowness to which the PPP stoops is not seen in the PNCR or Coalition, there is some concern that the Opposition is not operating at its optimum.
Granger is perceived as deliberately delaying the holding of Congress. He is being accused of creating divisions between Members of Parliament and the Party’s Central Executive, in a divide and rule tactic, in an effort to undermine party stalwarts and those who are critical of his leadership. Recent information points to a decision to hold Congress in October. In the meantime, he holds on as leader of the A Partnership For National Unity (APNU) whose initial member-parties have fled, citing concern with his leadership and non-consultative style.
The APNU owes its formation to the vision of former PNCR leader Robert Corbin which Granger has not been able to gel together or expand. Probably, in recognition of his failure and in preparation for his leadership bid in the PNCR, he has claimed expanding the APNU with two new parties. This could not be more ludicrous, and again demonstrates the non-consultative leadership style that has caused the original members to leave, of which both newly claimed party leaders were part of.
When he was questioned about the new parties and his lack of consultation was challenged by the PNCR Executive, he said he is the Leader of APNU, and dismissed the PNCR as one of five parties in APNU. What Granger failed to acknowledge and had little regard for is that APNU, outside of its PNCR base and machinery will crumble and fall. APNU is nothing without the PNC.
It is noted that although Granger recognises three worse disasters and crises in the history of Guyana, resulting from PPP mismanagement and occurring with him as PNCR Leader, what he failed to state is his response as Leader to these national disasters. Even as he condemns protests and sees them only necessary to be used as a lancet to achieve specific gains, he fails to see the need to organise protest actions against the three disasters, namely the pandemic, flood and national security.
In his recent programme, which is seen by many as a launch for his bid for PNCR leadership, issues of integrity came into question. There were concerns expressed by members and supporters of the role he played in setting a new electoral precedent when he brokered a deal with CARICOM for a recount of the votes of the 2020 General and Regional Elections. When he was asked about this, he denied playing any role, laying the responsibility at the feet of the Guyana Elections Commission. In fact, it was he who initiated the process with Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley who got Bharrat Jagdeo to agree with it.
In response to the challenge by one of the contenders for leadership of the party, Aubrey Norton, Granger declared that he could beat him because he ran against him before and won. Evidence will show that such a race was never run off. He was also criticised for not lending support to PNCR Chairman, Volda Lawrence and many others dragged before the court and persecuted by the PPP. He denied that he was not supportive and in the instance of Lawrence said he participated in protests for her. On social media there was a denial to his involvement.
The party members must recognise that while only they have a vote to remove Mr. Granger, supporters are depending on them. Failure to do what is right may well result in further hemorrhaging taking place under his leadership and their plight might well be worse off if they continue flagging a limping horse. The PNCR needs a new jockey. Mr. Granger is not the one.