The PNC’s anti-democratic imperative

The People’s National Congress (PNC) has reached another inflection point in its 65-year history. Ironically, while the elements of this particular contradiction had been rumbling around the party for months, they coalesced and burst into public consciousness on the day the PNC was supposed to be commemorating the 10th anniversary of APNU, the cover it had created to contest elections. A release, purporting to be issued by the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the party, declared: “DAVID GRANGER WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO TURN THE PNCR INTO A “ONE MAN SHOW”.
“This statement serves to inform members of PNCR that Mr David Granger and Miss Amna Ally continue to disregard the decisions of the Central Executive Committee, which the Leader and the General Secretary are part of and subjected to, since the CEC is the highest decision forum in the absence of Congress and General Council. The most recent disregard is the “one man” decision by Mr David Granger to go ahead and commit the PNCR to continue its involvement and accept two recently formed parties as part of the APNU. The actions of Mr David Granger are without any doubt unconstitutional and an affront to the membership of our Party. He will not be allowed to reduce the PNCR into a “One Man Show”.
Surely, the irony of its accusation – that David Granger was violating the party’s constitution – could not have been lost on his accusers who had unanimously supported his serial violations of the Constitution of Guyana with arrogant impunity between 2018 and 2020. The specific charge was that “the PNCR never agreed to accept the recently formed Equal Rights and Justice Party or the Guyana National Builders Movement into the APNU”. But Granger had unilaterally decided to accept what they described as “shell” parties to form the APNU umbrella. But here again, the irony – or perhaps, more accurately, the hypocrisy, was palpable. Was not the National Front Alliance (NFA) of Keith Scott – which was accepted as one of the five foundational constituent members of APNU, ever anything but a “shell”?
But all this is mere camouflage for the raw ambitions of the growing, growling motley crew who would be the heir of Forbes Burnham. At this point, we have three front runners – all of whom have endorsed the charges of the above release: Volda Lawrence, the Chair of the PNCR; Aubrey Norton, past General Secretary of the PNCR, and Richard Van West-Charles, son-in-law of Burnham and past PNC Minister of Government courtesy of that qualification. None of them, however, have had the courage to declare their real objection to Granger’s continued leadership of the PNC. In addition to the unilateralism – which, as a matter of fact was a distinguishing feature of Burnham’s presumably paradigmatic leadership model – there have also been accusations of Granger’s “aloofness”. The latter accusation, it should be pointed out, was also hurled at Burnham’s chosen successor, Hugh Desmond Hoyte.
Granger’s great failure, to those who would evict him, was that he “gave up” office. They have condemned him for both calling for the recount of the votes after Mingo’s outrageous corruption of the Region 4 SoPs with a soiled bedsheet and for eventually accepting (under protest) the unanimous verdict of the world, including Caricom, that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) had won the elections. And it is this central fact we must keep in mind as the struggle to oust Granger continues. Each of his erstwhile successors are telling the PNC base that if it were up to them, they would have stood down the world on the election rigging.
We should know, therefore, that none of these aspiring leaders of Guyana would observe the central norm of a democratic order: that it is only the free and unfettered consent of the governed that can create legitimate governments. And if they would play fast and loose with this foundational value, one can only shudder to think what other rights they would not violate.