Division continues within the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), with statement after statement either condemning or supporting party leader David Granger, culminating in a No-Confidence Motion being brought against the former President by the party’s Georgetown district.
According to information reaching this publication, the motion was put during a recent meeting of the Georgetown district of the party and it received the support of the members who were present.
Division within the party, simmering over the past few months, spiked last week when unidentified members of the PNCR Central Executive Committee (CEC) penned a missive denouncing Granger’s leadership style and his recent unilateral approval of two parties, which they called “shell parties” into the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).
“The most recent disregard is the one-man decision by David Granger to go ahead and commit the PNCR to continue its involvement and accept two recently formed parties as part of the APNU. The actions of David Granger are without any doubt unconstitutional and an affront to the membership of our Party. He will not be allowed to reduce the PNCR into a One Man Show,” the statement from the CEC members said.
This is a reference to the Guyana Nation Builders Movement (GNBM), which was founded by former Public Service Minister Tabitha Sarabo-Halley and the Equal Rights and Justice Party (ERJP), which was founded by former junior Finance Minister Jaipaul Sharma. According to the CEC members, Granger was previously commanded by the committee to put PNCR’s involvement with APNU on hold until further notice.
“Notwithstanding the Party’s decision, Granger went ahead and publicly advertised that the PNCR has accepted these two shell parties as part of the APNU… we are now witnessing this latest disregard of the Party’s decision, compounded by Granger affixing the symbols of these two non-approved parties onto a programme purported to be that of the APNU for its 10th Anniversary Celebrations. That is a one man show which the Party will not allow Granger to get away with,” the Committee said.
Days after this statement was released, several PNCR CEC members released a joint statement in which they lambasted these anonymous CEC members as “cowards.” But despite the CEC being a 15-member Committee, only four members – Ganesh Mahipaul, Annette Ferguson, Jennifer Ferreira-Dougal and Shurwayne Holder – affixed their names to this statement in support of their leader.
This follows protests outside Congress Place earlier this year, by members of Granger’s own party. The protesters demanded that he hold the congress so that the party can choose a leader. One placard, aimed at Granger and Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon, had read “David and Joe, stop denying democracy in the PNC. Time for congress”.
PNC’s last biennial congress was in 2018, where Granger was returned unopposed as leader of the party. This time around, Granger has cited the COVID-19 pandemic for the delay in holding the congress.
He had said that the party is trying to work out the logistics of holding the congress, while at the same time ensuring social distancing. However, many other organisations have held virtual meetings using Zoom, which allows hundreds of participants.
Granger, who left office in August 2020, after a five-month battle in Guyana for democracy to prevail, has been facing pressure from within the party and has suffered a sharp drop in popularity, over the loss of the 2020 General and Regional Elections after just one term in office.
These divisions were exacerbated by the list of parliamentarians he picked to send to the 12th Parliament, after party stalwarts like Chairperson Volda Lawrence were excluded and the WPA was not consulted to name their candidate. WPA subsequently withdrew from the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition, on the heels of the Justice For All Party (JFAP).
Granger has also been denounced by individual members of the party, like one-time PNC parliamentarian James Bond. Bond has, in fact, labelled Granger’s leadership as “ineffective” and “mediocre”.
Granger has also been criticised by the PNCR diaspora group, who added their voices to calls for the former President to step down from leading the party. In a letter signed by Connie McGuire, Michael Bramford, George E, Lewis and the PNCR New York Diaspora group, they appealed to all PNC Executives, members and supporters to demand the resignations of Granger and other party leaders.
Unlike in 2018 when he was returned as leader uncontested, Granger now faces at least two challengers for the post of leader. CEC member Richard Van West-Charles recently threw his hat in the ring, joining party stalwart Aubrey Norton as two executive members of the party who have indicated their interest in the top job.
Reports have meanwhile indicated that the PNCR is looking to hold its congress in October 2021, but with a much-trimmed list of attendees.