The PNC held a gathering to mark their 64th anniversary, but the leader didn’t show up! He sent a taped message!! It really symbolises where the party’s at right now – leaderless and rudderless. Imagine, Granger had the chutzpah to lecture party members about what the “Founder Leader” would or wouldn’t have done – but continues to stay away “on vacation” while the PNC’s facing its biggest crisis in those 64 years.
What’s the crisis? Where do we start?! Right off the bat, Granger, the leader, has clearly lost whatever credibility he had with the PNC base when he was parachuted into the position by Robert Corbin. Not-so-incidentally through rigging of the party’s election process – which caused a large swathe of moderates – who’d been brought in by Desmond Hoyte to widen the base as the “Reform” wing – to depart.
Then, immediately upon taking over, he brought in a platoon of ex-military types who’d passed through his hands in the army – and certainly had no Party politics’ experience. This alienated another swathe of old-line party types. While Burnham had created the army as an adjunct to defend the party – for instance, to even kill citizens when they rigged in 1973 – he certainly never envisaged it subsuming the party. And Granger’s control and command style, with no questioning, alienated another swathe.
The idea of the PNC hiding its stripes in a coalition had already been hatched by Corbin and Roopnaraine. But the latter – along with other WPA elements – was summarily and embarrassingly shunted aside by Granger. Causing another swathe outside the PNC to lose confidence in him and the PNC. The final straw came when he treated its coalition partner, AFC, like a doormat and arbitrarily shuttered 4 sugar estates – against the advice of his own COI. It was some of the votes of those same sugar workers – especially in Berbice – who’d supported the AFC to put the coalition over the tape. And the PNC Government paid the price when disgusted AFC MP Charandass Persaud voted them out when the PPP called a no-confidence motion!!
After he was forced to finally vacate office, Granger then led the coup de grace on the PNC. He bypassed all the veterans from the party and sent a bunch of neophytes to Parliament. Under the leadership of his army adjutant Joseph Harmon!! O mores! O tempora!! Another swathe of PNCites were teed off – including the Chair of the party and Georgetown powerhouse – Volda Lawrence.
So, what’s ahead for the PNC? Well, it won’t disappear, for sure. The base is still there. Problem is – that base is a minority, and Granger can’t widen it.
And that means being in the wilderness for another 23 years?
The taped message from Sanctimonious Granger and the live one from Chairwoman Volda Lawrence both referenced the scramble to replace Granger at the top indirectly – while emphasising the need for “unity”. What your Eyewitness has difficulty in understanding is why a challenge to the leadership is such a big problem. Hadn’t Harmon said this was a sign of a vibrant democratic culture in the PNC? Can’t have your cake (or votes) and eat (or rig) it too, can you?
At this point, only two persons have thrown their hats into the ring – old line PNC stalwart cast in the archetypical mould of the PNC strongman, Aubrey Norton, and Burnham’s milquetoast son-in-law Van West “Baby Jesus” Charles. There needs to be some clarity on the latter, since your Eyewitness remembers that he’d been miffed with his treatment in the PNC and crossed over to the AFC.
So, what’s all the strum and drang? Volda and Granger both want the job, but are playing coy and close to the chest!!
In giving her charge to the party, Volda exclaimed, “Our Congress demonstrates our strength, our vivacity, and our dynamism.” Vivacity? As in “jauntiness? Liveliness? Sparkle?
When we don’t even have a date as to when it’ll be held?