No nominations for Granger to return as PNC/R Leader
- Harmon says the fmr. President is not interested
By Kurt Campbell
Eleven years after he made a successful bid to be elected as the presidential candidate of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R) for the November 2011 general election, a now unpopular David Granger has lost the confidence of his party’s support base to lead them.
At Friday’s nomination’s exercise ahead of a December 2021 Congress to elect a new leader of the party, the News Room understands that Granger failed to secure a single nomination to be returned as party leader.
Instead, those who have once rallied around Granger have now thrown their support, in split fashion, behind party executives Joseph Harmon, Aubrey Norton, and Dr. Richard Van West-Charles.
The former President did pick up one nomination, a source within the party told the News Room. That nomination is for him to have a seat on the Central Executive Committee (CEC), the main decision-making body of the 64-year-old party.
According to the 1994 Constitution of the PNC/R, there is no time limit for a person to serve as party leader. However, a leader is chosen every two years at the party’s biennial congress.
The three contenders seeking to replace Granger as leader of the PNCR have all talked up uniting the party, a division that some party stalwarts say Granger has single-handedly engendered.
Granger had taken a step back from active politics in recent months, announcing that he was taking time off to rest. The acting leader of the PNC/R is Volda Lawrence, the party’s substantive Chairman who has also not indicated whether she will seek election to any post.
The News Room understands that she has secured nominations to be returned to the post of Chairman but her support for party leader is reservedly on Norton.
On Friday, Harmon said that even if Granger was nominated to be returned as Leader, he (Harmon) would continue to campaign with hopes of clinching the top spot.
Harmon said Granger was not interested in any leadership positions.
“I don’t get that sense because I don’t see any serious activity as it relates to campaigning on his part. As you know, he has been on leave for some time,” Harmon said.
Asked whether he had Granger’s support, Harmon told the press: “Mr. Granger has not come out to say anything. Mr. Granger never comes out to say ‘I support this or I support that’. He is the leader of the party and he holds himself there.”
Norton, who has reportedly secured the most nominations for party leader, had said that “when” he becomes the next leader of the party he will seek to avoid the mistakes of Granger.
He promised that there will be no sidelining of the former President but he sees a place in the party for Granger and other surviving former party leaders.
“He is mature in age and if I’m elected leader, there will be an elders’ council and I don’t see why he shouldn’t be there,” Norton noted during a frank exchange with Opposition Parliamentarian Sherod Duncan.
Granger, 76, served as the ninth President of Guyana from May 2015 to August 2020.
In the May 2015 general election, the APNU+AFC coalition secured the majority of votes and Granger was sworn in as President but he lost a vote of no- confidence in December 2018 in the National Assembly.
General and Regional elections were held in March 2020 where Granger and his party tried to claim victory on manipulated numbers. He later claimed the elections were tainted by fraud and should be canceled.
Ultimately, a national recount of votes indicated a win for the opposing People’s Progressive Party/Civic.
Granger is regarded as the third Guyanese President to attempt to win an election by rigging, the previous being Forbes Burnham and Desmond Hoyte, both from Granger’s PNC party.
The former President has been up against a bombardment of criticism since his defeat at the March 2020 elections. In July, Granger conceded that there was growing disapproval of his leadership in the PNC/R when his 76th birthday celebrations were overshadowed by criticisms of his leadership style.
Granger’s leadership has been described as, among other things, dictatorial.