Home Letters Granger will have to give this nation what it wants, whether he...
If President David Granger hopes that skirting around the CCJ decision and ignoring the importance of swiftly appointing the GECOM Chairman would rally the public to him, he will be disappointed. The last credible polling I saw pegs his popularity at below 38 per cent and the popularity of the corrupt and incompetent PNC-led coalition that he heads, even lower than that.
Guyanese in increasing numbers are rejecting these PNC tactics of pretending that the No-Confidence Motion was not successfully passed and that the Judiciary has not spoken. This is bad news for Mr Granger because every day he delays is another day he will be personally held for the destruction of democracy in Guyana along with the shutting down of the economy.
The GDP numbers were positive because some US$180 million in oil pipelines pass through the books of Guyana but such a pass-through transaction does not mean any serious tangible economic wealth for the people was created. To better understand the reality in the economy at the granular level which impacts the lives of the ordinary man, just calculate the non-oil GDP growth. From my computation, the non-oil economy declined by some 1.3 per cent. So, Mr Granger does not have real economic buoyancy on his side.
The only weapon team Granger has is a public address to the nation but from the way things are shaping up after observing the PNC-held street protest against GECOM, even their core supporters are not interested in following Mr Granger blindly; their number was under 100 protesters.
The bottom line remains, there is not much that Mr Granger can do now to shift public sentiments about this no-confidence vote. In the eyes of the majority, the Government has fallen and we have an illegitimate and illegal gang of interlopers who parade as a sort of junta claiming to be a Government.
Mr Granger had a chance after the CCJ judgment to level with the people and take back leadership on this issue but as usual, his poor management style bubbled to the top and he failed again. If I were him, I would have addressed the nation. In that speech, I would have stated clearly what I was thinking and why it was important to seek judicial review and apologise to the nation for the delay and thank them for their patience.
I would have laid out a road map for the next 3 months and announced a date of the elections as October 18, 2019 (4 months after – enough time for GECOM). I would have announced a new GECOM Chairman (he has 18 names with a world-class citizen like Major General (Rtd) Joe Singh on it).
I would outline what my government had done for the people over the last 4 years and the challenges I faced along the way and just ask the people for another chance since the Guyanese people are a forgiving lot. I would have formally launched the campaign. Such firm and bold leadership would have given him a way out of this political impasse and may have even improved his political chances. That is how pragmatic and principled people operate and this is how you gain the respect of the people. This is what Bharrat Jagdeo does every week at his press conference – level with the people.
As we all know, there is a major shortage of pragmatism and principled behaviour in the Granger DNA so what we got instead was more subterfuge and deception, more division in the nation, more intransigence and a total news blackout from State House. At the end of the day, the failure of Mr Granger to personally communicate with the people on this CCJ issue is a microcosm of a larger strategic failure of his presidency – his inability to expand his support base outside the usual Congress Place followers. As we saw in 2015, Mr Granger could not have won those elections without crossover votes from the sugar belt, the urban business community and the urban professionals.
He has now permanently lost all of these people and there is no chance of him ever recovering them unless he does right by the rule of law and the Constitution. Saying I will follow the Constitution is not the same as actually following the Constitution and unfortunately, team Granger thinks the people are so stupid that they cannot see the “three card trick game” that the PNC is attempting to play on them by gambling with the intelligence of the people.
Everyone in the room, save and except for the delusional, know that Mr Granger will have to give this nation what it wants, whether he likes it or not.