The PNC firmly, shamelessly reaffirmed and boasted of its authoritarian credentials
Guyana and the world know, but the PNC brazenly, this week, went to extraordinary lengths to remind everyone in Guyana and around the world that it is a political party unabashedly committed to authoritarianism and dictatorship. The PNC Chairperson declared to its members that if they are genuinely PNC, they must never question their leaders; they must, at all times, “follow the leader”. She was unequivocal in letting its membership know the PNC will not tolerate being questioned, that it is the PNC’s way. Another of its senior executives, Aubrey Norton, declared that the present GECOM – which desperately tried to rig the 2020 elections, and for which several senior management personnel, including the Chief Elections Officer and one of its senior Returning Officers, are on charges of elections fraud – needs no reform and no personnel changes. In short, the PNC is quite comfortable in retaining a GECOM machinery committed to rigged elections.
In 1990, when the PPP and others were calling for international observers for the 1992 elections, the then Leader of the PNC, serving as the President of Guyana, declared international observers for Guyana’s elections would be tantamount to interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign country. In more recent times, David Granger, the present PNC leader, also when serving as President, warned that observers and others who dared to speak out against electoral fraud in Guyana must “mind their own business”. The PNC even barred those outside of CARICOM from observing the recount. We must never forget it was Desmond Hoyte who called Aubrey Norton his “creature”, screaming out that he appointed Norton as the Party’s Chairman and he can fire him at his whim and fancy.
These dictatorial declarations and manifestations are not harmless. In practice, the PNC created fake voters’ lists for the 1968, 1973, 1980 and 1985 elections. They tried holding elections in 1990 with a fake voters’ list. They held a referendum in 1978 with a fake voters’ list. Not only did dead people vote in those elections, even children and horses voted in those elections. People voted multiple times in those elections. They took the ballot boxes to the army headquarters and kept party representatives away from the boxes. These rigged elections were so rigged that the world deemed them as more crooked than barbed wire.
Whenever they fail to rig an election, they try to take power through violence and protests. The 1961, 1962, 1963 and 1964 violent protests finally succeeded in forcing the British to hold elections with a system designed to keep the PPP out of power. In the 1990s and early 2000s, they used “slow fyah, mo fyah” protests, and when those did not work, they tried using criminals and thugs to create havoc in the country. That, too, did not work. In 2020, they tried to thief the elections in full view of the world. Failing to thief the elections after a five-month attempt, they accused the PPP and the whole world of rigging the elections.
The PNC are barefaced riggers. But people have either forgotten or are too young to know that Forbes Burnham, the Founder-Leader of the PNC, tried in the early 1950s to thief the PPP from Cheddi Jagan. Failing to thief the leadership and the PPP, Burnham then formed his own party, which he called the People’s National Congress (PNC). Thus, the PNC was born out of authoritarianism and efforts at thieving leadership.
Unlike the PPP, which was born out of a passion for independence and a quest for equality and equity for ALL people, the PNC was born out of greed for power. That legacy has persisted for more than six decades. Whatever the disguise, the PNC is still driven by its over-riding motivation: power at all cost. It is not driven by any principle; by any value; by a passion for ending poverty, or for equality; there is only one thing that keeps the PNC together – the burning desire for power.
This ugly truth is made uglier because, to remain a major political party, the PNC has used the race and ethnic card.
The PNC’s effort to thief the 2020 elections in full view of the world, however, has been rejected by the Guyanese people and by the world. They have disgraced their supporters and every decent Guyanese. Just when it was possible for people to accept that the PNC might have changed, they brazenly reminded people who they are and what they stand for. But Guyana is no longer in the mood for dictatorship. In reminding the Guyanese people who they are and what they stand for, the Guyanese people will never trust them. Unless they change, they will never again have a chance at forming a Government in Guyana. Even if they genuinely change, it will take time for them to earn people’s trust again. Now their reality is never in Government again, or a very long time from now. If they are not careful, they will be replaced by another party as Guyana’s second largest political party.