GUYANA: Politics: PNCR has “sad history of revolt” by the power-hungry, wealth-seeking; — David Granger

 — time for new political culture- David Granger

David Granger

Outgoing leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), David Granger on Saturday slammed those who have been fomenting division in the party, even as he issued a stirring appeal for party unity and discipline.

“Congress should teach the lessons of the Party’s past rifts and the excruciating experiences of its leaders. Congress’s task, in this decade, is to sustain solidarity by knitting groups together, not splitting them apart; by building up, not breaking down; by multiplying membership — not dividing and subtracting — thereby promoting public trust in the Party ,” he said in his prerecorded final address to the party as he is in Cuba for medical treatment for a cancerous condition.  The address was not played at the opening session, as is customary, but to delegates who are participating virtually.         

Aubrey Norton and Joseph Harmon have each fielded slates in what is regarded as the most hotly and openly contested elections in the 64-year old history.

Dr. Richard Vanwest Charles has said that he did not believe in the creation of a slate as it can lead to factionalism. According to internal party documents seen by Demerara Waves Online News, only the Chief Election Officer Vincent Alexander could ultimately address disputes about “the voting process” and declare “final results”.

PNCR Chairman Volda Lawrence

Mr. Granger said the PNCR could achieve much by changing its political culture by  “suppressing  schisms  and factionalism for the common good.”

He  said party members now realised that the present decade demands their rededication to the people’s development and “should not be allowed to become another period of personal rivalry.” ”They realise that respect for the Party’s Constitution and Congress; recognition of the roles of elected executive officers and observance of the common codes of civility do not impede personal freedom. Rather, they ensure that everyone could contribute to the consolidation of the Party.”

Reflecting on factionalism that has plagued the PNCR over the decades, he chided those who seemed bent on festering division. “Some persons seemed not to accept that the ‘Party’ was more important than any ‘personality;’ that they were elected to office not to satisfy their private hunger for wealth or their personal passion for power but to serve the people who they represented. The Party has a sad record of revolt,” said Mr. Granger

Mr. Granger cited Jai Narine Singh, the first General Secretary, as someone who allowed personal and political ambition to smother Party allegiance and broke away to form the Guianese Independence Movement party; Sidney King, (later Eusi Kwayana), also a former General Secretary who broke front the PNC in 1961 and helped to establish the Working People’s Alliance; Hamilton Green, another former General Secretary , broke from the Party in 1993 and established the Good and Green for Guyana; Raphael Trotman, an elected PNC Member of Parliament, broke from the Party in 2005 and established the Alliance For Change.

“The Guiana Independence Movement, the Working People’s Alliance, the Good and Green for Guyana and the Alliance For Change all wounded their ‘mother’ party !,” he said. Mr. Granger had had a less than healthy relationship with the WPA in A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), but he had unilaterally appointed Mr. Trotman as Minister of Natural Resources when the APNU+Alliance For Change coalition had won the 2015 general and regional elections.
Meanwhile, outgoing Chairman Volda Lawrence announced that she would not be contesting for office at Saturday’s elections.

Mr. Granger’s critics regard him as timid, weak and indecisive, but they and his supporters alike agree that he is honest and credit his administration with a lull in rampaging death squads, narco-trafficking and a cleaner physical environment.

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  • guyaneseonline  On 12/19/2021 at 8:11 am

    Harmon, Norton or Van West Charles? (In alphabetical order)
    Posted by Ralph Ramkarran December 18, 2021 – Conversation Tree Blog

    It is not a simple matter to write about the PNCR. Leaders are forever reluctant to talk to outsiders about internal party matters even when they are aware that the outsiders can be trusted not to reveal confidences. Serious journalists and columnists are not interested in disclosing information, but they are interested in making informed analyses. Information not readily available to the public enables them to do so.
    And so I begin this two-part series on the PNCR, a party with whose internal dynamics I am not familiar, at a disadvantage, having to rely solely on public information. I am not certain that the PPP is much different. Since I left that party in 2012, very few senior members with valuable analytical ability are willing to concede any valuable information.

    When a party leader in Guyana is giving up, as President Granger has been doing since the elections in March last year, everyone would normally know, particularly party members, who are the life and soul of the party. Guyanese have had to gaze at a crystal ball and a trickle of information to discern the direction of the PNCR. The first indication of things happening was derived from nothing happening. After the elections President Granger retreated to his home at Pearl, went on an indeterminate period of leave and has since maintained a steadfast silence.

    However, before doing so, he had already spoken loudly and clearly when he omitted from selection as members of parliament the entire front bench of the PNCR. Three things became clear. Firstly, he felt the time had come for a renewal of leadership. Secondly, he would not contest the position. Thirdly, he wanted Joe Harmon to succeed. While selecting Joe Harmon was a gamble, because he was defeated by Volda Lawrence a while back for the position of Chair, President Granger, in one fell swoop, wrote off the entire front bench and top leadership of the PNCR. Almost everybody was senior to Joe Harmon so that to open the way for Joe Harmon to obtain the advantage, all those senior to him had to be omitted from the parliament so that Joe Harmon could gain the coveted position of Opposition Leader. The launching of his leadership campaign was facilitated and aided from that authoritative position. He has declared that he will remain in the position, even if he loses.

    Senior members of the PNCR all appear to have accepted that a new wave of leadership is on the move. Basil Williams, a former chair, Volda Lawrence, current chair, Carl Greenidge, former candidate for leader, who is widely believed to have been cheated out of the position in 2011, and former Minister of Finance in the 1980s and, more recently, Foreign Affairs, and now Amna Ally, current general secretary, all appear to have declined to contest front line positions. The way is therefore open for Joe Harmon, Aubrey Norton and Richard Van West Charles in the leadership contest and new faces for the lower, but important, positions. Whether the elections results will emerge with the controversies that bedeviled past elections is not known. But a past victim of such controversies, Vincent Alexander, is in charge of the elections. He might be a controversial member of the elections commission of Guyana, but I doubt that he bears the same reputation as the head the elections for the PNCR, a party of which he is always at pains to remind everyone that he is not a member. Is it because when Mr. Alexander speaks, everyone seems to forget that he is not a member of the PNCR?

    Events at the time of writing suggest that this will not be the usual type of Congress that will debate the great issues of the day, the major challenges to the party, chart a course for the future and select a leadership to guide it forward. Such a course would not have been expected to do more than rant and rave at the ‘installed regime’ and its ‘discriminatory’ policies, but nevertheless a few shafts of light might have pierced through the walls of Congress Place to give some indication of whether any serious policy discourses emerged from the debates. Hopefully, however, the successful leader would have prepared a policy statement to be delivered on the conclusion of the process for the expectant public.
    Part of the strategy of both the PPP and the PNC to sustain the support of its bases is to appear as militant as possible. The more intense the criticism levelled by one party against the other, the greater is the acclaim of the critic. Militancy is not seen only as a tactic, it is the bedrock of strategy for all ethnically divided societies. This has led many to believe that the greater the militancy, the more effective the leader. This strategy is more important for the party in opposition because it has little less to offer its supporters. Hopefully, there will be something behind the expected bluster of the elected leader.

  • guyaneseonline  On 12/19/2021 at 11:19 am

    Norton crushes Harmon, Vanwest Charles at PNCR’s elections — in preliminary results

    DEMERARA WAVES: Denis Chabrol in News, Politics Sunday, 19 December 2021, 9:19
    Last Updated on Sunday, 19 December 2021, 9:24 by Denis Chabrol

    Mr. Aubrey Norton has delivered a crushing defeat to Joseph Harmon and Dr Richard Vanwest Charles for the post of leader of the People’s National Congress Reform, highly-placed sources said Sunday.

    No actual figures were immediately available from Saturday’s elections that marked the culmination of weeks of intense campaigning. But sources said Mr. Norton raked in three-digit votes at most polling places.

    In preliminary results to be declared by that party’s Chief Election Officer, Vincent Alexander, Mr. Norton amassed an unassailable lead over his rivals to become the fifth leader of the 64-year old party.

    Mr. Harmon trailed behind with Dr Charles in third place

    More than 2,500 delegates were eligible to vote in Saturday’s long-delayed elections which for the first time saw an incumbent leader not being nominated to return or for any other position. Mr. David Granger was absent away in Cuba for medical treatment and a video recorded message was played. General Secretary Amna Ally also prerecorded her address.

    All three candidates have repeatedly publicly pledged to unite after the polls for the common good of the party.

    In recent weeks, The Bahamas’ opposition Free National Movement and the opposition St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party have changed leaders through elections that have not been marred by reports of major irregularities.

  • guyaneseonline  On 12/19/2021 at 11:46 am

    PNCR elections: Harmon concedes to Norton; says now “ordinary member”

    DEMERARA WAVES: Denis Chabrol in News, Politics Sunday, 19 December 2021, 12:34

    Mr. Joseph Harmon on Sunday publicly conceded that Aubrey Norton defeated him in Saturday’s internal elections for the post of leader for the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR).

    “Over the coming weeks I am sure matters related to the new leadership will arise and I stand committed to the unity of the party as an ordinary member,” Mr. Harmon said.

    Well-placed sources have confirmed that Mr. Norton and his team have taken the positions for Leader, Chairman, two Vice Chairmen and the 15-member Central Executive Committee in a decisive landslide.

    Mr. Harmon, who had been coopted on the last executive, this time around hinted that he did not want to be part of that decision-making body again.

    Sources said there might be need for negotiations among the candidates to ensure that the executive reflects Guyana’s diversity.

    Mr. Harmon, who is currently Guyana’s Opposition Leader, said “I respect the choice of the delegates of our party.” and “I wish to congratulate Comrade Norton and want to extend good wishes and all success to the new leadership.”

  • Anthony Persaud  On 12/21/2021 at 12:57 pm

    It is a sad day for the PNC based on the current leaders selected. Former GDF Chief of Staff Gary Best”/GDF Chief of Staff Edward Collins”. This all smacks of future dictatorship. (Hugo Chauvez from Venezuela is a good example.) Norton is Desi protegee. Guyana is in for serious trouble ahead with the likes of these leaders. I wish I am wrong. This party is definitely not refelctive of Guyana and its future.

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