THERE has been much talk about the recently held PNCR’s 64th-anniversary event at Congress Place, Sophia in the dailies, and elsewhere. A great deal of this talk is full of glib optimism, especially on the part of the supporters from the PNCR. This is expected. However, a few thoughts ought to be discussed before optimism is accepted. First off, it is heartening to see the PNCR emerging out of its cells announcing “that political confrontation [internally] would lead us [to] nowhere” and that “our principles and commitment [s] to the people of Guyana” must be expanded. At the maximum level, such declaration reveals a partial maturity in that of an admission that problems do exist in the rank and file of the PNCR. The admission, however, as a yardstick, is ambiguous and subjective.
Admittedly, there are actually two doctrines of divisions going on in the Coalition: one is within the PNCR and the other is within the APNU Coalition between the PNCR and the AFC climaxing into a double whammy. These doctrines have shown no signs of disappearing, and have subsequently exposed a weak variegated terrain of unity in the PNC and the Coalition. Having displayed no genuine approach, based on brinkmanship dictated by reason and rationality to resolve these divisions, brings out the incompetence and reluctance to deal with a serious straitjacket within the Coalition. We have witnessed more rupture than collegiality in the PNCR and the Coalition, and, by extension, the catapulting of its members into a tighter world of shared frustration, waiting to explode. It is therefore difficult to accept the following shrill and mal parler tone: “our personal commitment as well as our responsibility to all of Guyana must include working to have a more organised and mobilised party, united in its effort to advocate for its membership and all Guyanese.” The rationale is that if consociational measures of inclusivity are missing in the PNCR and the Coalition, then how would their leaders wean themselves from the narrative that they are not in politics for themselves, and to their loyal followers who are complicit in this unfortunate “stewardship”?
The second observation of the 64th-anniversary event at Congress Place, Sophia, is that one recognises the evolving and evolutionary character of the PNCR. The party declared “that [it] has evolved throughout the ages and remains committed to the tenets of democracy enshrined in its Constitution, and the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. Our Congress demonstrates our strength, our vivacity, and our dynamism.” These few lines, although admirable, illustrate a desperate attempt to dismiss self-abasement, restore respect and credibility premised upon PNCR’s mastering of rigging elections.
The last sentence in the quote about dynamism was, in part, true. It is worth putting on record, however, that truth was not a seminal practice or principle. The endemic weakness of the Coalition was that the daily Diem and the political fruits from the feeding trough proved too much to resist. These so-called leaders created political reservations by themselves for themselves arising out of the need for social recreation and national pleasure, an idee fixe. In so doing, I reckon, that the Coalition leaders were enthused in moments of discernment that rigging of elections, and years of heavy-handed attitude would take them into the political nirvana of leadership. This schizoid role, coupled with the old Guyanese political game of seeking to frighten the then PPP opposition into submission, was ignominiously applied. It was “defeated”. This is why I have difficulty in accepting the following submission: “Truth must forever remain our marshal weapon,” quipped the PNCR. I think the word marshal (military officer) is confused with martial (bravery). I am questioning, however, the false conviction of leading with bravery for all Guyanese.
The final observation, in tandem with a short speech and a decorative conclusion of points, provides us with a quaint account of a Queen-like-monarchical style of Volda Lawrence. The concluding points of the presentation, perhaps predictable reorientations and recalibration of past speeches, found easy accommodation in the celebratory event where everyone is a conformist to party doctrine and protocol. As much as the points might seem forward-looking, they are misleading, obscuring the reality that the PNCR has been a thorn in the side of Guyana since the founding of that party. Electoral rigging and post-election violence, to name a few, intertwined with the claim of political innocence, have brought this nation to its knees. Rising from this foisted position has been a nightmare of nightmares to keep Guyana in lain with e Pluribus Unum (One from many), to borrow an American motto, rather than living up to the undergirded motto of one destiny of this and that. More telling is that the head honcho, David Granger, an admirer of Forbes Burnham, of the PNCR was not included, although a message was dispatched later from him, according to one daily newspaper. We have seen puerilities and eccentricities from the PNCR in the past but the exclusion of Granger from last week’s event is no laughing matter. The truth is revealed. Granger will not be leading the APNU+AFC Coalition into the 2025 general elections (firstname.lastname@example.org).