Jul 02, 2018  Features / ColumnistsFreddie Kissoon

I am not sure if Granger is going to run in 2020. I have been hearing of health issues. That is strange because last month Mr. Granger after checks in Trinidad was pronounced as physically fit and proper. What I am a little bit sure of is if he runs, he may do a Janet Jagan on the PNC and “call it George.”
But whereas the congenital Stalinism of the PPP does not allow for the leader to have a deputy, therefore the leader decides who he/she wants to succeed him/her, the PNC has a different structure. Its deputy leader is the Chairman.
Whoever is the Chairman will become President if President Granger decides to “call it George” as President Janet Jagan did in August 1999. If I were asked who will be the president in 2020, I would say it would be someone from the PNC. I believe the APNU+AFC Coalition will be in power (please note how I choose my words) in 2020.
My prediction is that Granger will do “a Janet Jagan” on the PNC in maybe 2021 or 2022. I believe this explains the three-way race in August for the chairmanship of the party between two party stalwarts – Volda Lawrence and Basil Williams- and the APNU guy – Joe Harmon.
freddie-kissoon-300x273

Please see my column of Wednesday, May 23, 2018, captioned, “Harmon will win over Williams for deputy leader of the PNC.” In that piece, I argued that whoever the leaders of both the PPP and PNC want to become the next head, that person will be “selected” and not “elected.
It is this columnist’s inflexible opinion that Bharrat Jagdeo will decide who the PPP presidential candidate is for the 2020 election, and David Granger’s preference will become the PNC’s Chairman. That has been Guyana’s political culture since the 1940s. It has been a relentless vulture since that time slowly devouring the society.
The WPA would like to think it was different and was not a practitioner of such a depraved political culture but it was all the time. The AFC is another prisoner of this vulture.
I see nothing on the political landscape to indicate that Guyana’s ancient, undemocratic political culture is changing; therefore, I see Jagdeo making the selection for his party’s presidential candidate and David Granger doing the choosing of his party’s Chairman next month at the PNC’s Congress.
Having said that, there is another scenario that for the sake of argument, this article will pursue. What happens if there is no intervention by President Granger? Who is likely to be the Chairman assuming that by August, it is still a three-person race?
Ms. Lawrence and Basil Williams will definitely spilt the vote of the hardcore PNC delegates who believe that both of them are long-standing PNC servants and they want such a person to succeed Granger. The present zeitgeist in the world favours the expanding presence of women in all spheres of life.
It may not be an exaggeration to say the 21st century belongs to women. I will not endorse Ms. Lawrence for reasons of principle but I would like to see a woman lead both the PNC and PPP. The PPP once had a woman leader. It is time the PNC has one.
This does not mean I am backing Ms. Lawrence. I don’t know her at all. I have never interacted with her as I have with Basil Williams. I had a bad experience with her when I was in Mark Benschop’s car and as we drove up to her. Mark said hello, and she abruptly turned away without acknowledging Benschop. Benschop had a mouthful to say and maybe after reading this he will expand.
I will always remember that incident, which occurred directly at the corner Public Road, Kitty and Vlissingen Road right outside the head office of the women’s arm of the PNC. But in fairness to Ms. Lawrence, Mark may have wronged her or she may have changed since then.
Basil and I were contemporaries as UG students and over the past forty-two years have enjoyed a cordial relation. But Basil will have a hard time winning the Chairmanship for two reasons. Humans are inclined to give others a chance. Basil had two terms.
Secondly, he is not seen as a transformative, visionary leader and his ministerial performance is not winning him support. In relation to Joe Harmon, I think Lawrence and Williams are going to paint him extensively with a brush that says “newcomer to the PNC.”
After Granger became PNC leader, Clarrisa Rhiel told me she never heard about him in the PNC.