It was long in coming, and it was like pulling teeth – deeply embedded molar teeth!! – but it looks like Aubrey Norton and Volda Lawrence are gonna soon be sitting in Parliament. There’s the caution about “slips between cup and lip,” but since Granger dotted his “I’s” and crossed his “T’s” – and certainly took his time with it!! – a slip appears unlikely. So, at the very next sitting – about which Norton has already claimed “undue delay and foot dragging by the PPP” – we should see the two PNC veterans among all those young’uns Granger had sent to Parliament.
That in itself might prove nettlesome, since there’s no love lost between Norton and Volda. Their beef goes back to 2009, when he ran afoul of Corbin after he was ousted as Chairman of the Georgetown District in favour of Volda Lawrence, a Corbin protégé. But Volda did back him in the Dec 2021 leadership race when she decided to stay out (for medical reasons?). Maybe they’ve kissed and made up? Well, maybe not kissed!! Also, since they were both sidelined by Granger, it’s possible they’re also drawn together by their common antipathy to the Sanctimonious Gangster, who saw them as too lumpen!!
But, once inside the House, Norton’s job would’ve only just begun. He’d long announced he wanted to be the Opposition Leader. But it ain’t gonna be an automatic shoo-in, since he’ll have to be elected by a majority of the 31 Opposition MPs – 16, unless some fancy math is invoked! We should take note of Ramjattan’s carefully worded announcement – after he huddled with Norton upon list representative Granger’s instruction. He noted that the 9 MPs selected by him for the AFC are sacrosanct. The remaining 22 were all selected by Granger, and Norton has some serious courting to do.
His announcement that there will be some serious pruning of those 22 might prove to be a tactical mistake. Everybody and their uncles (and godfathers) will be working overtime to ensure they retain their place at the public trough! Those perks!! Those perks!! Knowing the AFC (and more to the point, Ramjattan), they’ll try to leverage their nine MPs for pole position at the aforementioned trough. They still haven’t learnt anything from their Granger experience!! Your Eyewitness believes Norton’s gonna squeeze in as Opposition Leader – but he’ll have to do some serious horse trading. Does he have the horses?
And then what?? Granger brought in all those neophytes – so they’d be beholden to his place-holder Harmon – they don’t have extensive links to the APNU base. This isn’t glamorous work – it’s away from the limelight, and is mostly listening kvetching!!
Which, being out of Government, they can’t resolve!!
…on “shell” parties
Another item that Norton would need to direct his immediate attention to is the status of those one-person parties that make up the APNU fig leaf to cover the PNC’s stripes. Now, he and the rest of the PNC were perfectly comfortable back in 2011, when APNU was launched with some one-person parties like Keith Scott’s NFA and CN Sharma’s JFAP. The WPA at least had a long-lasting leadership cadre plus residual sentiments in the PNC’s traditional constituency.
A year after the 2020 elections – when the JFAP and WPA quit APNU, Granger took the one-person-party farce to its ridiculous conclusion by announcing that members Sharma and Tabitha Sarabo-Halley respectively had founded two out-of-thin-air new parties – Equal Rights and Justice Party (ERJP) and Guyana Nation Builders Movement (GNBM). APNU was reconstituted!!
The PNC’s CEC, however, dubbed them “shell parties”. Now one Norton partisan has demanded MP Sarabo-Halley prove GNBM. And the others?
What says Norton about them now??
Assuming that Norton – who’s already PNC and APNU Leader – becomes Opposition Leader, what does he do about Granger as “Leader of the List”??
Shouldn’t he be sent out to pasture, like was done with Harold Lutchman??