Well, the PNC election for the leadership is over and Aubrey Norton is the new leader – by a landslide!! But don’t get carried away with all the rhetoric about the end of “maximum leadership”. The only prize that mattered was the “PNC leader” moniker. Everyone else gonna be treated by him – to use Desmond Hoyte’s blunt phrase – as his “creature”! But before we move to Norton, your Eyewitness needs to clear up some loose ends. As you know, loose ends can unravel the entire fabric!!
Two loose ends were tweaked by departed PNC leaders, David Granger and Carl Greenidge. Granger, of course, had benefited from a fixed Congress back in 2011 – with Corbin’s control of the party machinery – to “beat” Carl by 12 votes!! Carl’s campaign manager Norton walked out in disgust!! Carl’s problem was that he’s a decent fella – more a technocrat than politician – and didn’t relish slinging political mud. His bête noir Granger was eventually the one who plunged the PNC into crisis since the hardliners couldn’t forgive him for not “doing a Burnham” – and accept Mingo’s concocted election results. He had to go…but it sure got nasty!!
In his parting shot, Greenidge insisted the PNC couldn’t just sweep the mess under a rug and assume a new leader would wave a wand and solve the party’s crisis. “There is to be no analysis, no debates about the political situation and no report on the 2020 national elections, its outcome and no policy pronouncements. It is only about the changing of the guard. Ironically, such a Congress should be quite consistent with the approach of the leadership of Mr Granger – no Party reforms, no resolutions, no or minimal debates, etc.”
Referring to his ouster, he bluntly declared, “Those areas are of concern to me, because I have had first-hand experience of the abuse of the Party’s election process.” So what would’ve now changed? You kill one Rasta and another takes his place as Burnham boasted cynically!
Granger, of course, was his sanctimonious self!! He railed against those who “split” the party “to satisfy their private hunger for wealth or their personal passion for power”!! He cited Jai Narine Singh, Sydney King/Eusi Kwayana, Hamilton Green and Raphael Trotman – who all formed new parties. Naturally, he didn’t mention his mentor Burnham splitting the PPP and forming the PNC – to satisfy his “leader or nothing” compulsions!
Sadly, PNC leaders just can’t lose their stripes. Even when they changed the name to APNU and coalesced with the AFC, they just had to revert to their “our way or the highway” stance. Even if it meant losing power!!
Norton’s gonna be the same! He can’t break the Burnham mould!
Your Eyewitness must concede he never thought Norton’s victory was gonna be this easy. Not because he wasn’t popular among the party’s delegates – but because of the fears expressed by Greenidge as to how those delegate votes could be manipulated! So, a hat tip to Vincent Alexander, the PNC’s Chief Election Officer. If only Lowenfield had done the same for his country…
So, now comes Norton’s first test – what happens if Harmon keeps his word and holds on to his constitutional role of “Leader of the Opposition” (LOO). Unless he resigns, the only way Norton can pry him out is to invoke the Opposition Leader’s No Confidence Motion in Art 184. One-third of the Opposition MPs must request the Speaker to have a vote on a new LOO – then a majority of them must vote him out.
Trouble is, most of those MPs were appointed by Harmon’s benefactor Granger. But your Eyewitness figures they’ll jump ship.
There’s no honour among…politicians?
…on PNC and voting
We’re told the voting for the PNC Chairman was very close. Will there be a recount demanded? Surely, the loser must heed the words of Carl Greenidge about the machinations that take place in the maws of the PNC’s elections machinery!!