The fact that the next General Election is more than four years away means that the coalition has some time to resuscitate the economy, lower the national debt, create jobs, reduce crime and create a better life for all.
But only six weeks remain for local government elections which the government is not likely to win outright. However, losing the local government elections (LGE) would not be as taxing on the President as being defeated in a general election.The general election, constitutionally due in 2020, could be President Granger’s last, given that he will be 75 years old. Mr. Granger has been President for only nine months, which means that he has four more years to serve the people.
If he decides to seek re-election in 2020 and loses, his departure might be immediate; while if he wins, it will be a more leisurely exit. Every leader receives overwhelming praise and support after winning an election, but a lost comes with recriminations.
If there is a loss at the local government elections, much of the blame will be placed at the feet of the President, but he will not depart for new leadership for the simple reason that the mandates are not the same. However, leadership succession is inevitable.
There is a long list of candidates waiting to take over the reins of the coalition, but it will definitely not be someone from the AFC party. It will come from the largest party in the coalition. Internally, the PNC is the most influential party within the coalition and is responsible for making most of the decisions. However, it also has a few negative perceptions, which has weighed heavily on the minds of some in the coalition.
It is the general belief that the person most likely to succeed the President would be the runner-up in the last leadership race. During the leadership campaign, he was able to define and make explicit his fundamental principles of leadership and his vision of a thriving and progressive Guyana.
As a former minister in the Burnham-Hoyte administrations, he has made valuable contributions to the country and to the lives of many.Should he be fortunate to succeed the President, the nation would trust his leadership since he is one of a few whose presence and dignity have served to reprimand those who did not have confidence in governments and are tempted to dismiss all politicians as selfish, greedy and corrupt.
His unsuccessful challenge for the leadership of the PNC in 2011 has made him humble and capable of accepting whatever responsibilities were thrown at him as a senior member of the government.
Paradoxically, these experiences coupled with the humiliating loss have not only made him stronger and wiser, but they have also set him up for the position as the next in line. Beyond that, his conduct has been exemplary throughout his political career as a Minister and an opposition MP. There has been no public display of petulance, arrogance or aloofness on his part, nor have there been any visible attempt to undermine the efforts of the President to develop Guyana
He has carried out his work with maturity and diligence, especially in the graceful manner in which he conducted himself during the Guyana-Venezuela border flare up last year. Much of the accolades being heaped on the government are tied to his expertise and how he calmly and elegantly managed the border issue in the face of serious threats by Caracas to invade Guyana. That too is paradoxical in many ways.
It was brutally hard for the nation, but moreso, for the government which has been in office for only a few months. His actions were undeniably credible. And with all the criticisms from the opposition, no one has articulated an alternative strategy as to how to solve the crisis. Therein lies his biggest challenge. His management of the border dispute while yielding some positives, did not offer a long-term solution out of the quagmire. That lies with the United Nations.