by Stella Ramsaroop
(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 26 September 2006)
The PNCR-1G just cannot seem to hold on to people lately. First, almost all of the smaller organisations that formed a coalition with them earlier this year backed out before the elections even took place.
Then Stanley Ming made a run for it too. Ming was a core PNC executive member whose “Reform” aspect of the PNC-R got swallowed up soon after the last elections. His departure was a huge loss for the already floundering party because Ming brought with him a level of respect the party cannot seem to maintain on its own.
Now it is Sherwood Lowe, a lecturer at the University of Guyana and another executive member for the PNC – well, at least he was until September 15 when he tendered his resignation to the longstanding opposition party because they still cannot seem to implement a power-sharing stratagem.
If this trend continues, there will be no one left in the PNC except Corbin, which is typical for those who do not like to play nicely with others. At this rate, the PNC will soon dispense with all of its visionaries and have nothing left but the party faithful. In short, this party will be just like the PPP – all yes men and no vision.
According to a Kaieteur News article from this past Sunday, Lowe said, “I feel that the party has to push the shared governance issue more, which was not being done; and I feel that I could make a greater impact outside the executive because this issue cannot wait until 2011. It has to be done now.”
If we examine this party’s name alone, the PNCR-1G, we will uncover the depth to which Lowe’s words ring true. The “R” (Reform) of the PNCR was all but lost with Ming’s resignation. The “1G” (One Guyana) aspect was also lost when the ties it formed with those smaller organisations was severed before the elections.
In short, because the PNCR-1G cannot play nice with others, it has effectively become the PNC again – and who wants to see that? Most individuals outside of Congress Place believe that, in order to survive, the PNC must go through a transformation beyond adding letters and numbers to its name.
It is now becoming apparent that there must be individuals within the PNCR-1G who do not believe that this transformation is necessary. This is a foolish notion. The egos of Guyana’s politicians are sometimes bigger than the country itself.
It seems as if those who carried the internal struggle for change within the PNC have eventually left in frustration. The long list of discarded visionaries includes Raphael Trotman, Eric Phillips, Peter Ramsaroop, Stanley Ming and now Sherwood Lowe (just to name a few).
While I have to admit the PNCR-1G performed better in this past election than I thought it would, they also lost a considerable amount of their core supporter to the "change" being preached by the AFC. Change is not something the PNC or the PPP have ever done well.
Why fight change? Why fight progress? Why is the core leadership of the PNC clinging to the past and to archaic principles that only hold the party back?
I recently wrote an article on the symbiotic relationship between the PPP and the PNC. It seems as if both of these parties are resistant to any internal change and constantly shed their change agents.
Whether it is the PPP refusing to shed it's Marxist mantra or the PNC refusing to fully embrace progress, both parties have made consistent decisions to resist change whenever it is confronted with the option. Simply put, both parties know they cannot move into the 21st century and still hold on to old school politics tactics that have kept them in power.
I truly believe we will not see real change in Guyana until there is a break in the unhealthy racial voting patterns that chain the country to its past. However, the leaders of the nation propagate this tendency and they have no intention of changing this anytime soon since it would mean the end of their reign.
These parties believe that they can maintain their brand of antiquated politics and their electorate will vote for them anyway. The PPP proved this belief in the recent elections. However, a significant percentage of the PNCR-1G's electorate did migrate to other parties and it is only a matter of time before the PPP’s supporters do the same.
Guyana needs fresh ideas and unsullied leaders, but the nation’s visionaries end up frustrated and leave - and the only ones left are those who needed to step aside a long time ago to allow the party to grow into an 21st century organisation. Of those who do stick around, they vie for power like dogs fight for territory.
It is despicable behaviour for those who would call themselves leaders and absolutely sickening for the rest of us to have to watch. For the PNC, it is sad to watch those who brought the best aspects of the party drop off one by one. Yet another one bites the dust at Congress Place this week and we can only speculate who will be next.
It means there is a disturbance inside the PNC Headquarters so disconcerting that a rift has been created in the upper echelons, but the sad reality is that the wrong people are leaving.
Isn’t that how it always goes? Those with enough dignity to bow out gracefully rather than be willing participants of a sullied system are the very ones we need to stay and fight for a better way.