‘I will not run away from service’

President David Granger (Delano Williams photo)

…Pres Granger open to 2020 presidential bid

PRESIDENT David Granger is not shying away from contesting the upcoming 2020 general elections as presidential candidate, but noted that such a move is dependent on democratic processes at the level of his party, the Peoples National Congress Reform (PNCR) and the coalition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC).

“Who knows … I cannot answer the question at the present time. It is speculative, but I am a servant of my party; I am a servant of the partnership,and I am a servant of the coalition; and it is my duty to serve and I will not run away from service,” said the President on Friday during his first press conference for 2018 held at the Ministry of the Presidency (MoTP).

His announcement comes one week after the PNCR hosted its 20th Biennial Delegates Congress, where he was returned unopposed as leader of the party. Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence, a party stalwart in her own right, was elected chairperson of the party.

The head-of-state said that once nominated by his party and selected by his coalition partners, he would run for president once again. And should he be elected president again, that would be the last term he can serve in that capacity in accordance with the Constitution of Guyana.

Speaking at his first press conference for the year, the head-of-state told reporters gathered at the Ministry of the Presidency (MoTP) that while it would be “speculative” for him to determine the future at this stage, if called upon to serve, he will so do.

Granger told reporters that when he became presidential candidate prior to May 2015, it was as a result of a democratic process. Democratic processes also applied to his becoming leader of the APNU and presidential candidate of the APNU+AFC coalition.

“There are several steps; I am now leader of the PNCR [and] I have to bear in mind my elevation of the presidency is as a result of popular support and democratic processes. And I would not abandon those processes… Once they function, I will observe them, but at present, I cannot say what the outcome of those processes will be,” the president stated.
In 2010, President Granger was successful in being elected the presidential candidate of the PNCR for the November 2011 general and regional elections. Granger was defeated by former President Donald Ramotar, but was unanimously elected leader of the opposition in the National Assembly in January 2012.

He served again as presidential candidate of the opposition coalition APNU+AFC in the May 2015 general election, when the coalition secured the majority of votes and President Granger was sworn in thereafter.

Albeit by a slim margin, the APNU+AFC coalition won the general election with 206,817 votes, as opposed to the People’s Progressive Party (PPP)’s 201,457 votes, thereby winning by some 5000 votes.

Throughout his campaigns, President Granger championed issues such as poverty alleviation, increased wages and salaries, improved security services, reducing corruption and fighting drugs and human trafficking.

The win by Granger in 2015 broke the 23-year rule by the PPP, traditionally supported by Indo-Guyanese. The PPP had been in powere since 1992, and saw Afro-Guyanese complain of being marginalised. But the coalition, which represents a fusion of parties, including the PNCR, a major political party in the country, the AFC, the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), the National Front Alliance, and the Justice for All Party and the Guyana Action Party (GAP) sought among other things to break racial tensions.

“We are a six-party coalition, and we are the closest Guyana has ever gotten to a government of national unity and that makes me very happy,” President Granger had said after he was elected President in 2015.