For the second time in five months the main opposition parliamentary party,APNU, has somersaulted on an issue of national importance, involving divisive political developments in the bauxite town of Linden.
At the centre of both occurrences seems to be APNUâ€™s leader, ex-Brigadier David Granger, now also leader of the PNCR (dominant partner in the coalition, that includes the WPA), as well as parliamentary Opposition Leader.
APNU Grangerâ€™s first flip-flop came last April within a few days of Prime Minister Samuel Hindsâ€™s statement to parliament (April 19) of an agreement reached at a meeting between President Donald Ramotar and the Opposition Leader on, among other national issues, a phased implementation of a new electricity tariff structure for residential consumers in Linden.
Then, quite soon, under orchestrated pressures from APNUâ€™s parliamentary ally, the AFC (with which it shares a one-seat majority), and allies within the Region 10 Council, the Opposition Leader quickly somersaulted on the agreement reached with the President and read into the record of the 65-member National Assembly by Prime Minister Hinds. NO objections were raised.
Since then, political intrigues became the norm for the opposition, with varying manoeuvres to undermine peaceful bilateral and even tripartite negotiations involving the proposed hike in electricity tariff for Linden consumers to bring them, eventually, in line with consumers across Guyana.
Party politicking developed into the level of a political crisis by July 18 when three Lindeners were shot to death during clashes with a contingent from the Guyana Police Force. This was to be subsequently placed as a core factor among the terms of reference (TOR) of a distinguished five-member independent Commission of Inquiry.
The TOR was carefully worked out at various sessions of tripartite meetings involving government, opposition and Region 10 Council representatives.
Then a few days ago, while arrangements were being completed for the swearing in ceremony of the last member of the Commission, former Chancellor of the Judiciary, Charles Kennard, (who was out of the country when the others took the oath), there emerged a most surprising position with the Granger-led APNU expressing dissatisfaction with the terms of reference for the inquiry the coalition party had helped to craft.
Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandall, lost no time in declaring his surprise. He told the media that APNUâ€™s now expressed objections with the TOR, of which it was an active participant, â€śare indeed inexplicable..From the beginning to the very end they made inputsâ€ť, stressed the AG.
When, therefore, at a media briefing last Thursday, APNUâ€™s representatives, headed by MP Basil Williams, chose to go public over dissatisfaction with the Commission of Inquiryâ€™s terms of reference, they were knowingly undermining their own integrity, including that of their leader, David Granger.
Question is, what peculiar factor or factors can explain this evident weakness in the leadership quality and stature of the former Brigadier of the GDF who is now also leader of the PNC? Clearly he cannot distance himself from the partyâ€™s position as outlined in last weekâ€™s media statement.
To further complicate matters, APNUâ€™s coalition partner,the AFC, which accounts for seven of the 65 seats in the National Assembly, when questioned on the changed position on the TOR expressed surprise.
According to a report by the online news agency, â€śDemerara Wavesâ€ť, AFCâ€™s chairman, Nigel Hughes, â€śexpressed surprise on APNUâ€™s position and noted that they (TORs)were the ones hammered out in a bilateral agreement with the governmentâ€¦â€ť
Ironically, it was a combination of orchestrated pressures from the AFC and Region 10 Council that had resulted in the first somersault by APNUâ€™s Granger on the new electricity tariff structure for Linden consumers.
Oh no, Mr Granger! Leadership is made of much sterner stuff! Itâ€™s simply unacceptable for political stability and orderly development to take place in an environment where the leader of the main parliamentary opposition keeps shifting positions on sensitive national issues.
What next should your own party supporters and the country expect? Are you being manipulated by some elements both within APNU and the AFC for different and quite narrow objectives? Check it out.