Eyewitness: Rumble in…

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…Sophia?

Aubrey Norton announced he’s challenging Granger for the leadership of the PNC. Poor Aubrey. He’s one of those fellas who’s always the bridesmaid, but never the bride…much less the groom! He seems to be good at catching bridal bouquets, but somehow unable to translate that skill with the ones necessary to get him to march up the aisle to say “I do” to the question, “Will you be leader of the PNC?” much less “President of Guyana”.
But he’s been around the block…and some. Over twenty years ago, he’d been summarily fired from his post as PNC General Secretary by Party Leader Desmond Hoyte after one year in the post. Hoyte called Norton a “creature” of the Leader, to remind him he should know his “place”. He was trying to mount a challenge to Hoyte’s leadership on ground that the latter had lost General Elections three times.

He was brought back by Corbin, who succeeded Hoyte as PNC Leader during the “mo fyaah, slow fyaah” days, because his thug image was now seen as an asset. Corbin wasn’t exactly a cupcake himself!!

Ironically, Norton’s partisans insisted he was one of the most qualified for leadership – intellectually! But Norton ran afoul of Corbin over leadership issues, and was ousted in 2009 as Chairman of the Georgetown District in favour of Volda Lawrence, a Corbin protégé.

Similarly, he teed off Granger when he claimed the latter beat him from the leadership position in 2011 only after a Corbinite rigging.

Granger, like Desmond Hoyte before him, wanted to change the thug image of the PNC, earned from the 1960s on the exploits of folks like Hamilton Green, Robert Corbin et al. He figured the PNC needed a “kinder, gentler” image to sidle into office without the Burnhamite riggings. And Norton certainly didn’t fit that image, so he had to be hidden away like the lunatic relative no one should see. Post 2015, he was kept in the shadows at the Ministry of the Presidency, as “Presidential Advisor on Youth Empowerment”.

But after Granger stumbled during his five-month-long war of attrition to steal the elections, and was eventually ousted, many in the PNC felt Norton’s day had finally come. Like Freddy Krueger, Norton came back to the fore after the PPP’s NCM, when the PNC needed a forceful counterattack. So here it is in 2021, Aubrey Compton Norton has decided to frontally challenge Granger!!

So, what are his chances? About as much as a snowball in hell! Frankly, while he may be good at mobilisation on the ground, he’s never projected that savoir-faire that the PNC’s base demands in its Leader.
This was Corbin’s ultimate failure, and it will be Norton’s

…the past

There was a nostalgic piece on Cheddi Jagan’s politics in one of the dailies, written by a distinguished Guyanese who’s lived abroad probably for the last 50 years. As a walk down memory lane, your Eyewitness sees nothing wrong with the sentiments expressed. And even the recommendations – after all, everyone’s entitled to their opinion – including Cheddi and the writer.

Your Eyewitness’s problem is that the ideas that Cheddi espoused during his lifetime didn’t really resolve any of the concrete problems that he faced at the time, did they? Now, one may say he wasn’t allowed to implement his ideas because Burnham rigged the elections and kept him out of power. But wasn’t Burnham’s rigging one of the challenges that he faced?

What were his ideas to address that? Was declaring the PPP a Communist Party in 1969, for instance, just a year after Burnham rigged the 1968 elections, the way to go?
Or giving “critical support” to the PNC in 1975 after the 1973 rigging? Just askin’!