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…deems no confidence motions fake news, warns against party insurgency
Amid a torrent of criticism about his leadership, Leader of the People’s National Congress David Granger on Friday remained defiant, branding reports of two successful no confidence motions against him by party groups as ‘fake news’ and warned his party against an internal insurgency.
Speaking during his Public Interest programme, the former Guyanese leader criticised as “fake news” several media reports suggesting that ‘no-confidence motions’ had been passed against him. He maintained that no one seemed to have ascertained the text and details of the motions and whether an opportunity was allowed for a response to the accusations and the amount of votes recorded in favour or against.
Last week Tuesday PNC/R party members from the East Coast of Demerara (ECD) passed a no-confidence motion against Granger following a meeting with the Central Executive Committee (CEC) where they also demanded that Congress be held this year.
Previously, the PNC/R Georgetown District also passed a no-confidence motion against Granger whose “unilateral” decisions as party leader have been called into question by the CEC and others. At the meeting, all ECD party groups attended and were able to ask questions and receive answers. The No-Confidence Motion they agreed upon outlined that “there must be people’s power and that our members and supporters must be consulted in the decision making of the Party”. Attending members openly shared their thoughts and gave their recommendations.
Altogether, pressure has been mounting against the former President from within his party and has also come from overseas. Recently, Executive Members of the Queens PNC/R Group presented a list of the “transgressions” of Granger which they say should lead to his removal from the leadership of the party.
The Queens PNC/R group said that its position is shared by members, supporters and donors of the group. Included were the names of Chairperson – Derrick Arjune; Vice Chairperson – Penelope Lambert; Legal Advisor – Joseph Heyliger; Assistant Secretary – Carl Wharton; Treasurer – Charwyn Thom; Parliamentarian – Cleveland Drepaul; and Member at Large – Brian Collison. Highlighting the PNC’s Constitution under subhead ‘Functions and Duties of Central Executive Committee (CEC) – Rules’, the Group outlined where the former President, as well as the CEC, has fallen short.
Listing these areas, the group stated that Granger has been dictatorial in the administration of the party; has exalted his maintaining leadership above the interest of the party and its supporters; and has outsourced his responsibility to other individuals and organizations the obligation to defend the rights and interests of members and supporters.
Furthermore, the Queens PNC/R Group stated that the Constitution of the party was violated and/or distorted by Mr. Granger appointing Joseph Harmon as the Parliamentary Opposition leader in contravention of votes supporting Granger as the Presidential candidate with the second-highest number of votes for the presidency.
The Group outlined that the “gross distortion” of the party Constitution is proof of Granger outsourcing his duties and, as the duly elected leader, he has inexcusably and unjustifiably failed to address the serious leadership impasse within the party.
According to the group, Granger has also failed to ensure the convening of statutory meetings of the CEC which is the executive of the party and, under his watch, the General Council which the highest decision-making body outside of Congress, has not met as required by convention and circumstances.
Added to this, it said that members have been compelled to seek redress from the Government without the guidance, succor and involvement of the party while Granger has taken up the “mantle of an inactive and useless ‘quiet’ Opposition Leader” which is an unacceptable role in a political system led by a “virulent government”.
A group of CEC members commenced meeting with PNC/R Members across Guyana in recent weeks to discuss the state of the party. As it relates to consequences for disregarding agreements and whether these include options for sanctions or only the avenue of elections, CEC Executive Member, Dr. Richard Van-West Charles said that the aforementioned discussions will determine this. On July 15, 2021, CEC Members released a statement noting their intention to elect “new leadership” of the PNC/R following their repeated challenges with Mr. Granger, in particular, and unilateral decisions that were made by him.
The main contention highlighted was with the decision of the former President to accept the recently formed parties of former government ministers, Jaipaul Sharma and Tabitha Sarabo-Halley into the APNU. The new parties – Equal Rights and Justice Party (ERJP) and Guyana Nation Builders Movement (GNBM) – were formed back-to-back in June 2021.
The CEC Members stated that they know nothing about the parties. They said that though it was communicated to Mr. Granger and General Secretary, Amna Ally that they should halt further involvement of the PNC/R with the APNU until the status of that partnership was fully discussed and agreed upon, Mr. Granger went ahead and publicly advertised the PNC/R’s acceptance of the two parties.
Meanwhile, on his programme Granger addressed the issue of the two parties which he adopted under the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) of which he is Chairman. The two new parties are– the Equal Rights and Justice Party and Guyana Nation Builders Movement. Both are led by well-known younger, former APNU Ministers and their admission was approved on 11th June at an Executive Council meeting.
Mr. Granger has also explained the reason for several senior party officials not returning to the National Assembly. Some former MPs had already served at least three parliamentary terms of about 12-15 years and were an average of 62 years old while the average age of new entrants was 42 years. This was a deliberate policy, he said to ensure 50-50 gender balance and give younger MPs an opportunity to lead the Party’s parliamentary thrust in the forthcoming ‘decade of development.’
Mr. Granger also deemed many of the criticisms against the party to be unfounded and uninformed. The PNC Leader confirmed that a sub-committee of the Party’s Central Executive Committee is still working out the modalities of proposals for convening the Party’s Delegates Congress which were presented since 19th April. He said traditionally, more than twelve hundred delegates and observers would assemble at the Party’s headquarters for Congress but, in light of the raging pandemic, that could be a super-spreader event which neither the state nor party could condone. Granger is of the opinion, a small group of seven persons was on a campaign to exaggerate the issues relating to convening Congress despite being aware that huge gatherings were disallowed owing to the pandemic and plans were actively being made for a ‘virtual’ Congress to be held.