“I don’t discount there might be opposition against me” – Granger on NCMs
– calls motions against him “phantom”
Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) David Granger on Friday acknowledged that there might be some opposition towards him, but in the same breath, claimed that he is unaware of any No-Confidence Motion (NCM) brought against him.
During a PNC-organised programme called “The Public Interest”, the former President expressed “right now, I don’t discount the fact that there might be some opposition to me”.
However, he said contrary to media reports, he is unaware that several groups from within the party have filed NCMs against him.
“The motions are difficult to define because, as far as I’m concerned as party leader and as far as the Central Executive Committee is concerned, we’ve never seen the texts of the motions, we’ve never heard of any official meeting of any part of the party…,” he explained.
“These are phantom motions. No texts, no votes, no notice, no defence…it’s difficult to understand who’s behind these press releases,” the PNC leader added.
Media reports indicate that the members of the PNC Central Executive Committee (CEC) on Thursday met and deliberated on two NCMs against Granger. But Granger is insisting that this is not true.
“These…meetings which seemed to have been held certainly were not sanction by the Central Executive Committee of the party. We don’t know who was invited, we don’t know what the motions were, who moved and seconded the motion, how many votes were taken…how many votes were against,” Granger pointed out.
He noted too that “even in common law, if an accusation is made about some misconduct, at least the person is told what the accusation is about, but I’m not aware there is any wrongdoing and I have never seen any motion.”
“Certainly, if directed against me, at least I’m entitled to know what misconduct I’m being accused of,” the PNC leader posited.
“I can’t figure out what the game is … and people need to suppress this type of activity that is taking place. I don’t know if anyone would claim responsibility for convening these so-called meetings and bringing these motions but as I said, it has never been brought to the attention of the Central Executive Committee,” he contended.
Moreover, Granger pointed out that the party leader is elected by Congress and not the Central Executive Committee and therefore, he urged persons to wait until Congress is held to select the new leadership of the PNC.
Noting that he is yet to decide on whether he will run again, Granger said “other persons have announced their intention to run, we’re a democratic party and if they feel they can run, let them run.”
He noted too that “there is a legal framework, Congress will be held and persons who are interested in competing for the leadership of the party are free to compete…”
“So let us keep it clean, let us keep it constitutional,” Granger affirmed.
Division within the party, simmering over the past few months, spiked last week when unidentified members of the PNCR CEC penned a missive denouncing Granger’s leadership style and his recent unilateral approval of two new parties into the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).
The partnership last month announced that its Executive Council accepted applications from 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, to join APNU.
But the PNCR CEC members called the two parties “shell parties”, stating that Granger will not be allowed to run a “one-man” show.
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.
The PNC’s last biennial Congress was in 2018, where Granger was returned unopposed as leader of the party. Congress was due in 2020 but Granger continues to cite the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse for the delay in holding Congress. He said during Friday’s programme that plans were actively being made for a ‘virtual’ Congress to be held.
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 Working People’s Alliance 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’s (JFAP) resignation.
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.