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The consistent commitment of all the candidates, during the campaign for Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), was to unite the party in preparation for winning the next National and Regional elections. This ought to be the focus of Aubrey Norton, the current Leader. He should put his head down, as Robert Corbin did, and focus on delivering government to the party supporters and others who desire change from this government of corrupt and uncaring men and women.
Strong, consistent and committed relationship is premised on programmes, whereas issues only build convenient relationship. The election for the Central Executive of the PNC has been concluded. It is time for the actors to come together in building a programme, preparing an agenda, and putting a strategy in place if they are serious about winning the next elections. Inter and intraparty and group division cannot deliver electoral victory.
Yet they are some who believe success is possible in further fracturing relations and moving to silence those expressing another opinion. No one will silence my voice in speaking about the present impasse within the PNC leadership, given the consequences for this nation, and the fact that the Party brought its business into the public realm.
My voice was not stilled under the late greats LFS Burnham and Cheddie Jagan; subsequent leaders like Desmond Hoyte, Robert Corbin or Janet Jagan. Not even the dictatorial Bharrat Jagdeo and a PNC leader that sought to ignore and undermine Labour in society, despite the fact Labour’s role is enshrined in the Constitution, could have silenced me. The overzealous reckless supporters of Norton will not succeed.
Some of Norton’s ardent followers are his worst enemies. Some of them don’t have the national interest at heart, they are driven more by aligning themselves for self-interest. Why would they encourage Norton, whether publicly or privately, to engage in any exercise that can hurt him, his image, and hurt him politically?
In furtherance of their agenda, they contribute to the encouragement of lawlessness, division and reckless behaviour by sowing seeds of discord, instead of mending fences and building bridges. We saw the development of this behaviour on the world stage. One would think having observed the behaviour from afar and lived it during the Jagdeo presidency persons would have the ability to understand the impact of such conduct.
Whether the intolerance manifests in an organisation or nation it deters any potential for holistic development. Whereas there is recognition some may lack appreciation and experience for accounting to the people, the political business of this nation must be conducted differently. Good politics is about people and people’s development and this could only be possible by bringing people together around common goals and ideals.
A strong and focused PNC is necessary for the realisation of the national political objective as enshrined in the Constitution of Guyana at Article 13. As an organisation, the party must be able to demonstrate the capacity to include all those within its midst as it reaches out to embrace others. If the PNC cannot practice inclusionary democracy within the party it would be difficult to demand the same from the PPP regime at the national level.
It is of import to remind Norton comrades the party was in the political wilderness for 23 years. Robert Corbin, in spite of being demonised and called on by some to get out as Leader, put his head down and created a partnership that placed the party on the path of returning to the Executive. That success was realised in 2015 by only 5000 votes. Corbin’s successor, through his actions, dismantled not only the partnership but the party. Norton must rebuild these to face the elections which are only three years away.
The honeymoon will soon be over. Those encouraging him to go the route of alienating people are setting him up for failure. His supporters and the Party’s Central Executive must be able to recognise the value of all, including David Granger, Joe Harmon, and their supporters. Elections are won on numbers. Experience should inform that the many who today are goading for the exclusion of others from the decision-making table will be the first to offer up condemnations when substantial successes elude Norton.