RESPECTFUL after the tumultuous and turbulent five months when aggressive warfare was employed by APNU + AFC members to remain in office through strict elections, former Public Health Minister and Chair of the National People’s Congress (PNC), Volda Lawrence, marginalized from the party’s main decision-making process.
Throughout the five month period, Lawrence and a few other PNC members are at the forefront fighting tooth and nail to ensure the votes are counted correctly and in a transparent way. Most of the senior members of the party were missing in action. So the party leader’s exclusion of the party chief executive is clearly a reflection of his infantile and silly behavior. And to the surprise of many, not one member of the 35-member PNC executive group issued a public statement condemning its horrific, vindictive and ruthless act.
To add insult to injury, for no justifiable reason, the leader suspended one of the PNC’s nails from Parliament and chose his deputy to replace him. It was a horrific decision, which, if not corrected urgently, could lead to the demise of the party, which is about to be permanently broken.
The reason why no executive member condemned his action was precisely because most of them feared revenge from the leader who demanded complete loyalty from PNC executives. Loyalty to the party leader has been a fundamental principle of the party, but that was more than 60 years ago when the party was founded. Today, the PNC has evolved and should make room for independent thinkers, but it has not. It remains a rule that those who had opposed the leader would face strong disciplinary action with the possibility of permanent expulsion from the party. This is, and remains, the absolute carte blanche or power that PNC leaders have conquered over the decades. The executive must remain loyal to the leader or face the consequences. It’s the conductor’s way or the highway. At an earlier stage, Vanessa Kissoon and Sharma Solomon were treated similarly and as Mrs. Lawrence, the PNC’s most popular leader today, and yet the executives have remained silent. Such an undemocratic and dictatorial approach is absurd, offensive and outdated and must change if the PNC is to win elections long after its leaders are over.
Several members of the 10 PNC groups in the Tri-State region must follow the leader’s directive to draw the party line and pledge their loyalty to it, if not, they too will be disappointed by the party and their spouse groups in the diaspora. At the turn of the century, the PNC leadership established an umbrella organization called the North American Region (NAR), whose primary role is to ensure that its PNC member groups abide by the rules. NAR is supposed to be a neutral organization, which means it should not support any one candidate for leadership within the party, but it did on several occasions. His actions have led to major disagreements with several of his member groups in New York exile, to the extent that many have revoked their membership of NAR and are operating independently. Today, NAR has become redundant and is a complete failure.
Contrary to the belief of many in the PNC, the party remains divided into two factions – the Volda Lawrence faction and the David Granger faction. To bring the cohorts to a standstill, the current leaders in their 70s must be ready to pass the baton to younger, enlightened, compassionate, selfless and talented leaders like Vanessa Kissoon, Sharma Solomon and Thandi McAllister and others, with Mrs. Volda Lawrence takes the lead in challenging the government on all issues. Time for new and younger leadership in the PNC.