THIS past week, there were the usual celebratory activities, albeit limited, to mark the 64th anniversary of the People’s National Congress.
As expected, Party Leader David Granger made efforts to rally his comrades in unity and solidarity. He warned the membership about disunity and division, at this challenging time in the party’s history. He relied heavily on previous sentiments about party factionalism as he sought to try to convince party members against this route.
Additionally, he invoked sentiments expressed by the founding party leader, Forbes Burnham, at the party’s first leadership congress in 1975. Also, Chairman Volda Lawrence expressed similar sentiments calling for unification.
Sadly, both appeals were meaningless to the membership. After all, it is these two persons who are causing all the confusion in the first place in the party. Their leadership styles are very different and bad for the party’s growth and development.
Consequently, they are not even serious about achieving unity and cohesiveness in the PNC, or they would have started the anniversary celebrations with the “truth” about elections and the party.
Firstly, Lawrence and Granger should have said that they tried to rig the elections and offer an unconditional apology. This is the proclamation that all Guyanese were waiting to hear from them as leaders. And, it is not surprising, however, to learn that they did not even say what changes the party can look forward to as they negotiate this difficult period.
Much less to say, the leaders disappointed their membership and Guyanese as they seem to be playing a game of internal politics. It is not that they did not sound good, but they were not at all serious if a proclamation to end rigging was not mentioned.
Secondly, Granger’s speech was hum drum and boring. He said nothing and offered no real paradigm shift for the members to contemplate ahead of the congress. Granger has to come to grips with the reality that his party is experiencing internal passive-aggressive unrest, and turmoil.
This situation requires a leader who can stop the near ideological and leadership collapse of the PNC. Granger ought to know that the party requires him to act swiftly and be seen, not just heard.
In any case, this speech sealed his fate with die-hard party members as he was right in the country but chose to remain concealed from the media and leadership. They will never forget this disrespectful snob.
Thirdly, Lawrence’s appearance has not escaped the attention of observant party members. She should have offered a more realistic assessment of the PNC at 64. Similarly, she should have pointed out the challenges, frontally, and admitted that the party must do better. If she believed in the party’s anniversary theme, she should have declared that the PNC was ready to publicly furnish all stakeholders with a copy of the now-infamous SoPs which will prove the PNC’s version of the truth. Too, Lawrence had an opportunity to tell the PNC members about the problems with the congress committee in organising a safe COVID-19 congress in 2021.
Finally, Guyanese should not listen to them make noise on their microphones, saying a lot but not saying anything. PNC at 64 is a huge opportunity for the leadership to address young people’s problems with how decisions are made by the Executive. It offered the chance for the leadership to offer insight into the ideology and thinking patterns, plans and policies, and strategy for winning the next elections. Also, the leadership should have spoken truthfully about rigging. And they could begin turning a new leaf with reconciliation and healing taking shape within the PNC. The PNC at 64 is in chaos and confusion. The party must stop, take stock, strategise, and then do battle again.
Granger and Lawrence missed a grand opportunity to carve out an image of a new PNC. It would appear that they do not possess the mind-power to steer the PNC into a new phase.