With majority of the smaller parties that make up the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) being snubbed for a parliamentary seat, the largest partner, the David Granger-led Peoples National Congress Reform (PNC/R) is coming under fire for its dictatorial approach in selecting members to represent the coalition opposition in the National Assembly.
General Secretary of the Justice For All Party (JFAP) Savitri Sharma told this publication that the PNC has ‘used and discarded’ the smaller parties that helped put them into government.
“We feel that we were used when they needed us and now that they don’t need us they kicked the small parties out under the pretext of saying that we are cardboard parties. We were the parties which caused APNU to go into Government.
“If we were not there, APNU would not have been in Government. So, they stood on our backs to climb to where they were, and now that they got there, they don’t have need for [our] support any longer,” Sharma said during an interview with INews.
JFAP, which is led by Chandranarine Sharma, had a seat in the last Parliament which his son, Jaipaul Sharma, occupied. The snub this time is not sitting well with the party. Mrs Sharma said as a member of the APNU, their party was never consulted in the crafting of the list and several correspondences to the PNC went unanswered.
“As far as Justice For All is concerned is that CN [Sharma] has given 30 years of support to the PNC and as such he is now 72 years, his party should have been recognised in this elections. If according to Mr Granger we are cardboard parties, then you used us. Because they wanted to go into Government, they scrambled up the small parties and now when they need the seats for the PNC people, they kicked out the small parties.
“We did not even see the list. We feel as though we were being used and abused and the point is in that executive, nobody talks to you about issues to make decisions on. You are not included in decision-making when it comes to governance. All they do is the hierarchy make decisions and the small parties can just go to wherever,” she expressed.
The JFAP General Secretary noted that the party is also taking stock of the various corruption scandals that have been emerging in the press where PNC members were benefitting from undeserved perks under the Granger Government.
According to the General Secretary, the JFAP is also reviewing its membership in the APNU, explaining that the dictatorial leadership of Granger is not one they can agree with.
The PNC announced its list of parliamentarians – where some of the party’s top brass have been axed. These include Chairwoman Volda Lawrence, former Attorney General Basil Williams, Aubrey Norton, George Norton, and former Chief Whip Amna Ally.
The selection of MPs by the PNC was already triggered outrage among its membership with one young politician, James Bond, taking to social media to criticise the leadership for its approach.
Bond also announced his intention to challenge the current PNC leader, blaming Granger for the party’s defeat at the March 2 election.
APNU was formed to contest the 2011 General and Regional Elections and consists of the second largest political party in Guyana, the PNC, along with Guyana Action Party (GAP), the Guyana Association of Local Authorities (GALA), the Guyana National Congress (GNC), the Guyana People’s Partnership (GPP), the Guyana Youth Congress (GYC), the Justice for All Party (JFAP), the National Democratic Front (NDF), the National Front Alliance (NFA), and the Working People’s Alliance (WPA).
Then in 2015, APNU entered into a coalition with the Alliance For Change (AFC) – whose parliamentary seats have also been significantly reduced from an initial 12 to a mere nine.