Leaving it up to God!
Peeping Tom
Kaieteur News
April 30, 2007

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There is nothing unconstitutional and private about the decision of seven of the members of the Central Executive of the People's National Congress Reform to lobby for a yet to be identified candidate to contest the position of Leader of the party at the Congress slated for August of this year.

While the rules provide that persons have to be nominated by party groups for positions of leadership, there is absolutely nothing wrong with groups being lobbied to support a nomination for an office of the party.

So long as a party group nominates the candidate identified and so long as the nomination follows the established procedure, there is nothing preventing the identification of a candidate to challenge for leadership of the party and nothing from preventing his or her supporters to canvass party groups and individual members and or delegates to support that candidate, even before the nomination comes.

The recent decision by seven - yes, seven not one - members of the Central Executive of the PNCR to lobby for a candidate to challenge for the leadership of the party is the most significant development within the main opposition party since Hammie Green was so unceremoniously expelled from the party many years ago.

I had hoped that Uncle Bob would have, when he assumed the leadership of the party, initiated a process that would have brought Hammie back into the party rather than the party simply saying that Hammie was free to apply for membership.

Hammie is not going to reapply for membership, I think, because this would imply that his expulsion was lawful. It would also mean that he would be expected to reenter the party as an ordinary member, something that would be unreasonable to ask of Hammie.

Whoever becomes the leader of the party must decide what to do with Hammie, whether to woo him back to the party or to allow him, as now seems to be the case, to simply fade into political obscurity.

The second thing I want to take issue with is the claim that the present development within the PNCR is an internal matter of the party. The issue of leadership of the main opposition party, and especially one that held power unchecked for twenty-eight long years, cannot be said to be an internal matter.

It is not. It is no less a matter of public interest than was the alleged loss of funds from the office of a political leader just before the last General Elections. Surely, the membership of the country, including those who will not be delegates, ought to be provided with information about these developments because ultimately political parties are creatures of the membership and are not preserves of the leadership.

To say that the anticipated leadership challenge within the PNCR is an internal matter is therefore unfortunate.

Any challenge to the leadership of the PNCR is also bound to be a matter of public interest to supporters of the party who may not be card-bearing members. It is also of great interest to the members of the public who expect that whoever is expected to be in Parliament as Leader of the Opposition is someone that they can expect to provide sound leadership.

After all, this is the person who will be in discussions, consultations and dialogue with the President of Guyana on matters of national importance.

The decision to put up a challenger for leadership must be seen in a positive light because it would be the first time that an incumbent leader, elected as such at a Congress of the party, would face a challenge. What is striking, of course, is that the challenger, whoever that person is, has already procured the support of large chunk of the Central Executive of the party.

The manner in which the PNCR deals with the present developments will be a test of its democratic nature. It is clear from some of the statements we are seeing that this challenge is being taken seriously, even though the Peeper does not expect it to prevail.

The PNCR has an opportunity to put distance between itself and its political nemesis, the PPP, through the manner in which it deals with this challenge. If it is able to demonstrate to the entire country that it is truly a democratic party in which challenges to the leadership are entertained, it can show that internal democracy flourishes within the party, something that cannot be said for the ruling party.

The leader of the PNCR so far does not seem worried by the recent development. He has said that everything is in the hands of God.

Let us hope that he does not end up like that person who kept praying every day to win the lottery, leaving it all up to God. Week after week a man would go into the church and ask God to grant him his wish to win the lottery.

Week after week he did not win. In frustration he went back to Church and prayed, “God, why are you not granting my wish. Why am I not winning the lottery?”

Before he could end, a distant booming voice from the heavens said, “This is your God. At least meet me half-way; buy a ticket first.”