ALEXANDER Hamilton said if you do not stand for something, you will fall for anything. If he is right in the strange world of politics, a politician has to make up his mind about certain developments from the start and stick by them throughout. If the politician is seen wavering, compromising, and generally changing positions depending on certain political variables, then he is likely to fall face first. Ultimately, he would be seen as weak.
That is not to say that the politician should not compromise if he has adopted the wrong position. After all, the signs which must be present for compromise to take shape are truth, integrity, good faith and a shifting political paradigm. Even Margaret Thatcher realised this when she said, disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important although difficult, is the high road to pride, self-esteem, and personal satisfaction.
It is for these reasons, President Dr. Irfaan Ali should not entertain the premature, half-baked, and purely political positions adopted and bandied around by the new leader of the People’s National Congress Reform, Aubrey Norton.
Firstly, he should not compromise what he has set out as terms and conditions for the political negotiations with the Leader of the Opposition and the political opposition, the APNU+AFC Coalition.
Norton is not the Opposition Leader at this time, nor does he enjoy a seat on the leadership of the APNU+AFC Coalition. Joseph Harmon and David Granger hold those positions, and until he can muscle his way through the political fence, Norton must know his place and be content with his victory at Congress Place.
He and his new General-Secretary, Geeta Chandan-Edmond must focus on the work that PNC should be doing to try to reform itself, yet again, to appeal to more voters this time around.
Secondly, Norton is playing a game of rhetoric. He wants to sound politically astute to the masses. Accepting reality is one thing, but not saying that the government is legitimate or in place correctly is another.
In other words, Norton is still not accepting that the PPP/C won the 2020 elections fairly and squarely as the world does today! He is adopting the Granger-Harmon recipe that has effectively stalled all talks with the President.
How could anyone take a political party leader seriously when he makes statements like these at such an early stage? Who is Norton apart from the leader of a political party? And what is his claim to fame? What is his track record in public office?
Thirdly, Norton’s past will haunt his way into the future. His name is synonymous with the streets-style and violent political era in Guyana’s history. He is from an era that has no respect for dialogue or political agreements. The truth is, Norton as a politician believes, from his earlier positions and writings, in the politics of physical aggressiveness and politics of opportunism as a means of solving the problems in society today. He somewhat thinks that by pursuing politics through the racial lens, he is going to make the steal or win the Presidency come 2025. Therefore, he sets out on this path without knowing that the time of violence and racism in politics is nearing its end.
Finally, no one should give Norton any serious thought at this point. The opposition is still hemorrhaging and in search of a firm leader or role model figure that can stand up to face President Ali.
President Ali must continue in the same political vein and be more focused than ever before on the delivery of goods and services to the people of Guyana. He should leave Norton out in the political wilderness battling Granger and Harmon for control of the opposition.
Whatever tricks he is brewing, the President should not fall for it. No dialogue on shared governance! No talks on the PNC’s version of national unity or coalition politics until the PNC-APNU+AFC realises that the PPP is legitimate and governing because they lost fairly at the polls.