This is an open letter to Mr Granger.
Dear Mr David Granger: In my analysis of your leadership style as President of Guyana, I have identified many flaws which contributed to your defeat at the 2020 polls. These flaws fell under one general heading: GOVERNANCE, which comprised several contributory factors, such as corruption, discrimination, vendetta politics, constitutional aberrations, electoral misconduct, and elitism.
When you were the Leader of the Opposition (pre-2015), you had accused the PPPC Government of corruption, drug trafficking and race discrimination, among other things. Many Guyanese had agreed with your criticisms, and tended to embrace your promise of zero tolerance for corruption. Your desire to eliminate discrimination, initiate constitutional reform within 100 days, produce the good life for all Guyanese, and hold local government elections resonated well with Guyanese.
After 23 years in the political wilderness (1992-2015), your coalition (APNU+AFC) was voted into power, partly in response to those promises. Your supporters were beaming with optimism and exuberance on your victory; a new era of political dispensation was in the making, as they saw your coalition being positioned strategically to manage the emerging oil sector.
Your victory had shattered the PPPC leadership and plunged it into despondency. They had to pull former President Mr Bharrat out of retirement to rescue the party from tattering further. Mr Jagdeo rose to the challenge, and began to rebuild the party and restore its viability. PPPC members also felt that the AFC component of the coalition would check the excess of the PNCR and therefore help to calm their (PPPC) anxiety. Introspection allowed the PPPC to conclude that their election loss in 2015 was attributed principally to complacency, arrogance, breakdown of the party’s grass roots organisation, and the perception of corruption.
Rather than tapping into the widespread goodwill that your Government had enjoyed in the beginning, you began instead to fire non-political Indo-Guyanese workers in the public service as well as non-Indo Guyanese workers thought to be sympathetic to the PPPC, as well as Amerindian CSO workers. Later, you fired sugar workers, most of whom were Indo-Guyanese. Despite your campaign’s resounding promise that sugar ‘is too big to fail’ and that sugar workers will receive a 20% pay hike and rice farmers will receive $900 per bag of paddy, once in office, you recanted on those pledges and thus destroyed the faith of the 11% Indo-Guyanese that voted for your coalition in 2015.
Mr Granger, your systematic attempts to militarise the society through your appointment of ex-GDF officers who occupied strategic positions in the public service, as well as the re-activation of the People’s Militia in December 2015 with a force strength of 1,500, combined with your re-organisation of the top hierarchy of the Guyana Police Force in August 2018, were all parts of your grand military design.
Other related measures included your refusal to hold election following the successful passage of the NCM (No Confidence Motion), a position criticised by your pollster Peter Wickham of CADRES; your unconstitutional appointment of James Patterson as GECOM Chair, and your failure to accept the 2020 election results that were duly certified by CARICOM. Your team tried valiantly to stage an electoral coup d’état after knowing that your party had lost the 2020 election. These and other actions such as creation of a spy agency (attested to by the Brassington mission in December 2015) had sent a chilling message that power consolidation had been central to your political ideology.
Now that you are out of Government, Mr. Granger, you have become more visible than when you were the President, but your utterances at public gatherings have not been progressive, but rather reactionary. You have complained about the dismissals of PNCR-aligned supporters in the public service by the PPPC Government. You failed to tell the people that when you were in Government, you said nonchalantly that the responsibility of Government is not to provide jobs, but rather to create an enabling environment. Yet, in practice during your 5-year term, your new hires were a phenomenal 10,000 workers.
The PPPC Government has been exercising its right to terminate the services of political appointees (who refused to resign) to make way for the appointment of the PPPC’s own political appointees, who are expected to promote their policies. Your firing of workers, Mr Granger, was ruthless, while the PPPC’s firing was less severe and done on a much lesser scale and in a measured way. While you fired thousands of workers, the majority of whom were Indo-Guyanese, the PPPC has terminated less than 300 political/contract workers.
Had you not embarked upon a vindictive campaign, with support of Khemraj Ramjattan and Moses Nagamootoo, to destroy the livelihood of thousands of workers, your party would have been in a strong position to win the last election. While the PPPC carried out a good campaign, it was largely your party that made it possible for the PPPC to win the 2020 election. Many people voted for the PPPC not because they necessarily liked the party, but rather because they despised the vindictive, corrupt, and autocratic leadership of the PNCR led coalition.
Dr Tara Singh