The leadership of the People’s National Congress/Reform (PNC/R) is facing another dilemma. This problem is adding to its growing list of losses and failures. At this point, it is clear that the party’s superstructure is on the verge of explosive change or it will inevitably explode with time.
Region Seven Businessman, Shawn Hopkinson and party member, Brian Smith, are the two latest members to confirm that they are leaving the PNC/R leadership because of leadership issues. Before them, Lennox Gasper, Basil Blackman and Attorney-at-law, Thandi Mc Allister had also left the party for similar reasons. It should be noted here that these are well known faces within the PNC. Who knows of the others, including the number of ordinary members who have left quietly?
Among McAlister’s concern was the party leadership’s sidelining of the youths in the party. She said that she has lost hope in the party to meet the expectations of its membership.
Two smaller parties joining the A Partnership for National Unity seemingly had something to do with Mc Allister’s decision to resign. This is gleaned from comments of a senior party executive, who insinuated that the input was required from the wide membership of the party since the decision to include the two recently formed and largely unknown parties into the Coalition was made by the ‘top’ PNC leadership.
In any serious organisation or political party, this will be a cause for concern because it appears as though a few persons have literally hijacked the leadership of the PNC. Most of these concerns could be decisively addressed but it will require the PNC to hold congress, which its top leadership seems reluctant to do anytime soon.
There is a view that the current principals of the PNC do not want the staging of congress at this time because it might mark the beginning of the end for most of the old guards who went into the 2015 elections campaign embracing the slogan, “It is time”. Whatever the rationale for not holding congress at this critical time, it appears to be unhelpful to the party’s leadership since it would not stop the growing criticism from supporters including those who believe that they party can regain power by winning a free and fair elections.
The criticism, it should be noted, is fueled by the feeling of non-consultation with ordinary party members and supporters by the PNC top leadership.
This matter aside, also for some strange reason, the top leaders of the PNC seem to have not awakened from their dream world. It is bewildering that they still continue to push the false rhetoric among their supporters that they won the last general and regional elections even though this narrative has been widely debunked locally, regionally and internationally.
Ten months after, not even some of the diehard supporters of the PNC are paying heed to this imaginary victory, as claimed by Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon and others in the party. It is therefore hardly surprising that many young people in the party are now beginning to see the top leadership as visionless and disconnected.
Perhaps this is the main reason why the old guards in the party are not interested in holding congress anytime soon because they fear that their grip on power will dissipate once the internal elections are conducted in a free and fair manner, a trait that is alien to them in practice.
Regardless of when the PNC decides to hold congress, it cannot be over emphasised that for change to occur in the party, it must first make efforts to change its old culture of talking about but rejecting principles of democracy. It must also move away from narrow self-interest, including fueling racism, and instead embrace working with the government of the day for the betterment and development of Guyana while being vigilant and not sensational with regards to transparency and accountability in governance.
Like every political crisis, one either learns from it by adjusting and taking a constructive course of action or continue with the status quo and explode into pieces. From the look of things, the PNC seems headed in the direction of the latter if it does not take a pause and look at itself in the mirror.