‘All Fools Day’

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If my interpretation of her is correct, there is something deeply troubling about the process outlined in Minette Bacchus’ ‘Granger and the non-appointment of coalition MPs’ (VV: 03/04/2022) about the management style of former president David Granger as it relates to the delay in the appointment of the Opposition PNC Members of Parliament (MPs) and more specifically the appointment of the Opposition Leader (OL). So worrying is Mr. Granger’s way of doing politics that one had best not let it pass as the correct or most efficacious way to proceed. Indeed, I want to assume that Ms. Bacchus’s missive is but a valiant effort to salvage the reputational damage that Mr. Granger, as representative of the PNC’s electoral list (LR), brought upon himself.

Ms. Bacchus stated that by the rules a resignation takes effect from the date stated in the letter of resignation and not from the date the letter was received. Thus, although Dr. Nicolette Henry stated that she intended to resign on 2nd February 2022, but according to Village Voice may have sent her letter of resignation on 4th February, according to Ms. Bacchus, ‘Mr. David Granger said that at 14:00 hours on Wednesday 30th March, 2022 [he] received two letters from … the Speaker of the National Assembly.’ These letters formally informed him ‘that as a result of the resignations of …Harmon …with effect from 15th March…and Henry, with effect from 31st March, two vacant seats had arisen in the National Assembly.’ On 1st April 2022, ‘The Representative of the List has also informed …[GECOM] of the present development’ and has written to Mr. Aubrey Norton, Chairman [APNU] and Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan, Leader [AFC], requesting their meaningful consultations on the nominations of candidates to fill the vacancies.’

In the case of these two MPs, I am relatively certain that as a courtesy, Mr. Granger would have been forewarned of their intention to resign and the implications. So what we have here is Nicolette Henry actually resigning about two months after her public statement that she intended to and although Mr. Joseph Harmon sent his letter about a month later, on about the 4th of March, he actually resigned before her on 15th March, but the bureaucracy of the National Assembly still waited until her resignation became effective to inform the PNC’s LR about both! More importantly, Joseph Harmon resigned as Opposition Leader (OL) about 25th January 2022 and did not have to resign for a new appointment to be made if Henry had indeed resigned on about 4th February.

In view of the importance of the matter and the level of national interest surrounding it, one would have thought that in a properly functioning and neutral bureaucracy, the Speaker/Clerk of the National Assembly would have long explained to the public that Aubrey Norton, the designate OL, could not have been appointed because there was no vacancy. Furthermore, one would have expected that given the criticisms his party was facing about the delays and the amount of blame he also faced as a former Leader of the PNC, former president and now RL, instead of waiting about two months and two weeks respectively, Mr. Granger would by way of the media explained this the situation to the country and his supporters. And where necessary, as in the case of the bureaucracy taking two weeks inform him of Harmon’s resignation, cajole it to act in a timely manner. He apparently did none of this but waited languidly for things to play themselves out.

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Apart from allowing an avalanche of propaganda to rain upon his party by so acting, the former president helped the government to claim that as a result of there not being an OL it was unable to appoint the Police Service Commission and thus had to invoke some dubious doctrine of necessity to appoint an acting commissioner of police. Mr. Granger must have known and should have reminded the public that Dr Henry’s resignation would not be effective until the end of March and Mr. Harmon’s until the 15th and that he intended to begin the process of appointing the new OL immediately upon receiving information – which could only have been a few hours given the notice the Assembly received – that Harmon had resigned. This would have stymied any effort by the PPP to even speak about the doctrine of necessity.

Mr. Granger became active on ‘April Fools Day’ but what took place cannot qualify as a prank for it is unbelievable that any former president could be so lackadaisical as to provide his political opponents the opportunity to maul him and his party. I am prepared to be proven wrong, but when these events are added to what preceded them on this matter, being kind, on my assessment what took place had everything to do with Mr. Granger’s reluctance to make the appointments that beckoned.
I focused on David Granger because he was the point man, the LR, but where was the PNC bureaucracy when all of this was taking place? Why were they not at the very forefront collecting and analysing the kind of information herein and informing the public?



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