PNCR-led coalition “barefacedly” sought to rig 2020 elections – former party member

– accuses party of control freakism, bullyism in resignation letter
– says Opposition MPs displayed most distasteful tactics to derail passage of 2021 Budget

Another People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) member, Lennox Gasper, has walked away from the party, citing issues such as control freakism, bullyism and deception – which he said was reflected in its attempt to “barefacedly” rig the March 2, 2020 elections.

PNCR member Lennox Gasper has resigned

Gasper, of Linden, Regional 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice), joined the PNCR, which is the leading party in the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance Force Change (APNU/AFC) coalition, in May 2016 and served as a Councillor at the Linden Mayor and Town Council.
These revelations by Gasper come on the heels of the first anniversary of Guyana’s General and Regional Elections which were held in March 2020 and the series of events that followed during which the then incumbent APNU/AFC regime attempted to derail Guyana’s democracy in a bid to hang onto power.
“This week, as we observe one year since the vicious attack on our democracy by the coalition, I am fully persuaded that the actions of the PNC-led Coalition in the aftermath of the 2020 General and Regional Elections were born out of a selfish and unbridled lust for power, without any regard for the interests of Guyana and its citizens. It was indeed an unbearably frightening experience that after 23 [years] in opposition, the PNCR under the coalition banner was barefacedly seeking to rig the elections in full view of Guyanese and the rest of the world,” Gasper said in his resignation letter to PNCR General Secretary Amna Ally.
According to Gasper, whose March 3, 2021 resignation was with immediate effect, he joined the PNCR with the intention of helping the coalition execute a development agenda not just for his region but the entire country. He was convinced that the APNU/AFC would change the political culture and transition the country into a new dispensation of accountability under the promise of a “good life”.
Gasper added, “I was also in high hopes that the coalition would have implemented a rapid-development rescue plan for Linden, given that the party’s narrative over the 23 years of PPP/C rule was that Linden had been deliberately neglected and therefore underdeveloped. This too was not to be. We in Linden pleaded for job creation and development for four long years, while we watched with envy, as other newer towns were prioritised.”
The former party member recalled that one of the first acts of the APNU/AFC Executive when it assumed office in 2015 was to reward itself with a hefty salary increase. He noted that this was further compounded with scores of new taxes imposed instead of easing the burdens of the Guyanese people.
The former PNC member went on to note that he became a Councillor at the Linden Town Council with the aim to serve to the best of his ability but was unable to do so as the coalition used lies, deception and bullyism to control the narrative in Linden not just during its tenure but after the 2020 election period as well.
“Regretfully, I could not deliver on [my] promise as a result of the constraints of control freakism imposed by the party and the heartless non-provision of resources by the Government… Notwithstanding, those developments and the disgraceful abandonment of my town, the stronghold of the PNC/R, I campaigned hard for the coalition again in 2020, hoping that with another term, our frustrations on the ground would be addressed and the shortcomings in governance rectified. This too was not to be.
The party suffered a devastating defeat at those elections fair and square but chose instead to revert to its old Gestapo tactics of attempting to rig the results in its favour, dragging our hard-won democracy through the gutters for five long months. Throughout this period, the membership was blatantly lied to, in a web of deception and manipulation without any transparent access to the Statement of Polls, which would have most certainly proved otherwise, had they been revealed.”
Further, he noted that even as the country reflects this week on last year’s dreadful events, the coalition Opposition Members of Parliament, “true to form” displayed the most distasteful tactics to derail the passage of the 2021 Budget in the National Assembly during which they openly trampled on established parliamentary protocols and outrightly disrespected House Speaker, Manzoor Nadir.
This was in reference to the Opposition’s disturbances on Wednesday and Thursday during the Consideration of the Budget Estimates after their demands were not dealt with. The Speaker was forced to suspend at least seven APNU/AFC MPs for disrupting the proceedings and flouting House rules.
Nevertheless, as he departs the PNC, Gasper urged that the party remove its political blinders and smartly work with the new Government to help develop the town of Linden and Region 10 for the better.
Gasper has now joined a growing list of party members walking away from both the APNU and AFC since it lost the 2020 elections.
In fact, the PNC-led A Partnership for National Unity is embroiled in disunity and internal power struggles that have been played out publicly in recent months with some members accusing the party leadership of not consulting with its membership.
There was also uproar over the coalition’s list of parliamentarians, who were reportedly handpicked by former President and APNU Leader David Granger. Former coalition MP James Bond, who himself was left out of the parliamentary list, had publicly criticised Granger on several occasions on social media for the exclusion of PNC Chairperson Volda Lawrence.
Additionally, two of the five parties in the APNU fraction – the Working People’s Alliance and the Justice For All Party – have also resigned over this.
Meanwhile, the AFC has also been losing several members. Only last month, the minority party in the coalition lost two senior members, Joel Edmond and Reynard Ward, with the latter accusing the party of being in an abusive relationship with the PNCR-led APNU – a longstanding criticism since the parties joined forces in 2015.