Aubrey Norton disgraced the PNC’s supporters and again insulted all Guyanese

It was not funny, even though many Guyanese laughed when they heard the Leader of the Opposition, Aubrey Norton, insisting he would release APNU/AFC’s “winning” SOPs. It was sheer arrogance, disregard, and disrespect for the Guyanese people. It was a disgrace for the PNC’s supporters, because, once again, their leader, this time a new one, insists on dragging them through the manure. We all know that had they had “winning” SOPs, those would have surfaced early on March 3, 2020. They had many opportunities, with observers and others around, to show their “winning” SOPs. It would be the first time in history that a political party, especially one as obsessed with power as the PNC, would have hidden their “winning” SOPs.
Norton claimed he would release the SOPs if Bharrat Jagdeo agree to debate him, but only release such SOPs after the debate. If Norton is an Opposition Leader of any worth, he would want to debate Bharrat Jagdeo anytime, anywhere. Given an opportunity to release the SOPs and gain the opportunity to debate Bharrat Jagdeo should be an opportunity an Opposition Leader would relish and would seize with gusto. But clearly, Norton has no such desire. An Opposition Leader of any worth would not set any precondition for a debate with the leader of the governing party. The PNC supporters have been left, since March 2, 2020, without any leader who is willing to take up their cause.
Aubrey Norton was chosen as the leader of the PNC precisely because the supporters of the PNC lost confidence and felt abandoned by the leaders who ignored them between 2015 and 2020, who governed as if the Government was only for a few select people, and who took them into a losing election on March 2, 2020. Everywhere in the world and throughout Guyana’s history, whenever an Opposition Leader was given an opportunity to debate and/ or to garner the attention of the country through debates or through other means, that Opposition Leader is obligated to seize the opportunity. Norton should show his supporters that he would find a way around the mountain on their behalf. If all that stands in his way to debate Bharrat Jagdeo is the release of the SOPs, why would he not want to release those “winning” SOPs?
On March 3, the evening of the Tuesday following the March 2 elections, as Mingo started the declaration of Region 4 results, one would have thought that APNU/AFC, with their “winning” SOPs would have done everything possible to have Mingo smoothly and quickly complete the exercise of legal declaration. After all, with their “winning” SOPs, the completion of the exercise on March 3 would have seen David Granger sworn in for a second term as early as March 4th, 2020. The PPP was there with their SOPs, GECOM was reading out, through Mingo, their copies of the SOPs, and the observers were there with their copies of the SOPs. There was no dispute in the numbers at that point. The conspiracy to thwart the completion of the exercise started on Tuesday evening, March 3, 2020, when all kinds of excuses were made to adjourn the process.
With their “winning” SOPs, what on earth would have stopped them from joining with the other political parties to insist that Mingo continued that night? Why would they, with their “winning” SOPs, not want Mingo on Tuesday evening or on Wednesday, or at any time, to use the SOPs to declare results? Why would they defend Mingo’s use of a spreadsheet and hide their own SOPs? It is laughable, but the loyal PNC supporters, who carried an albatross around their necks for decades because they all knew that the PNC had rigged election after election between 1968 and 1992, could not be amused. The rigging attempt not only took place in front of the world, but it has to rank as the most brazen and clumsiest rigging attempt ever in the history of rigged elections.
One would have thought that, given how clumsy it was, the new leader of the PNC, the new Opposition Leader, would want to put the scandal and disgrace behind him and behind his supporters. One would have thought that, by now, the PNC and its leaders, and particularly Norton, would want to move on and become engaged with real issues. None of the people Norton today leads cares about his “winning” SOPs. They want him to discuss real issues, issues that matter to the country and to the Guyanese people, including his supporters. Instead of addressing these issues, he continues to heap disgrace on his supporters. His own supporters are laughing at him.
While those “winning” SOPs gather moss somewhere well- hidden, there are things he needs to do to gain the confidence of his supporters, the way Bharrat Jagdeo did as Opposition Leader between 2015 and 2020. He can start by apologising to the Guyanese people for negotiating a “bad” deal with EXXON; by apologising to the sugar workers and their families; by apologising to all the small businesses that closed during APN/AFC’s term in office, for the multitude of corrupt transactions that took place under their watch. It is a good place to start, rather than insulting people with his claims of having the “winning” SOPs well-guarded.