Stop the bickering and personal attacks!
That was the stern message issued by Guyana’s President and leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) – the largest party in the governing coalition – as he served notice that he was fed up with squabbling among party members.
Addressing the 5th Biennial Conference of the PNCR’s North American Region (NAR) in Atlanta, Georgia, the United States this week, David Granger laid down the gauntlet against the backdrop that some members were not happy with his leadership style.
“I think the time has come for people to stop attacking the leader of the party as a past-time, as cake-shop or rum-shop gaff, and establish a truce between the membership and the leadership,” he said.
While making it clear that he was not afraid to stand up to his critics, Granger warned that the personal attacks being leveled against him would do the PNCR more harm than good.
“I don’t say so because of myself but because of the office, and I do not know of any situation in which these vitriolic attacks on the party’s leader actually help to build solidarity; I think they help to undermine,” he said.
Granger rallied the troops to unite in the face of challenges within and without, noting that the larger focus must be the continued development of Guyana.
“The party cannot be strong if it is weakened by constant harping or by rumour-mongering. The party cannot be united if it is divided by rivalry and factionalism, by disloyalty,” he said.
The President also made it clear to his critics that he was not afraid of challenge but insisted it should be not underhanded.
“I only became leader through one route – that is elections – and if the membership of the party doesn’t want me to be leader, remove me not by going to a football game in Linden and recruiting members but by going into several villages,” he said.
Granger told the gathering he had no time for grudges, pointing out that some of his rivals who challenged him at the PNCR’s primary elections for leadership were serving as Vice President and Senior Minister.
“Two of the strongest rivals are now colleagues in the Cabinet…I don’t hold grievances and grouses, you know. I don’t try to attack and destroy my enemies. The PNCR is one and if you have a role to play, if you have a contribution to make, it’s the party that matters not personal prejudice,” he insisted.
The president urged the party to return to its roots, stamp out elitism and get down to the business of improving life for every Guyanese.