Leader of the People’s National Congress and APNU Chairman David Granger today defended his decision not to select those candidates for parliament who would have already served more than fifteen years in the parliament.
In an interview with News Source at the headquarters of the People’s National Congress Reform, Mr. Granger said he had made it clear to the other senior members in the party that a concept of term limits would have been introduced since there was a need to make way for other candidates to serve.
“You can’t get over the hill if you remain in the valley, and I felt that after serving three terms, Parliamentarians should give way for younger persons and particularly to encourage that gender balance and the balance of you, and generational change. And all of these things were known. They are not a surprise for anyone. I don’t see that there needs to be any justification for persons to serve for 25, 30 and 32 years. Why? How can we ever bring bring young people into the political system if the older folk continue to serve so long. I led the way by going out first. I led from the front”, Mr. Granger said.
Some political watchers and even members of the PNC have publicly expressed concern about the absence of a number of the senior PNC officials in the party’s recently revealed list for parliament.
The list is made up of mostly fresh faces who were first-time candidates for the APNU+AFC coalition at the March elections.
Mr. Granger said he will spend his time now rebuilding the party and doing more work at the grassroots and community level along with the other senior members.
“I want to spend the period that will be occupied by the 12th Parliament going out and doing more work in the regions. It is not a backward step, it is a forward looking step to make sure that our party and the coalition performs better at the next elections. And I don’t think I could be doing that by sitting in Parliament and being Leader of the Opposition. I think I can do that by working within my party and groups in the street and I am very glad that the party’s General Secretary and some other senior members of the party will be following me to do more political work within the country”.
When the APNU+AFC heads into the 12th Parliament, it will mark the first time in the history of the People’s National Congress that the party will not have one of its senior leaders sitting there.
The PNC is the largest party in the coalition, but in deciding not to head back to Parliament, the former President also kept the party’s Chairman and General Secretary out, both have served in the Parliament for almost 20 years.
Mr. Granger said he believes those who have been chosen will represent well.
According to the PNC Leader, “I am satisfied that we will be properly represented in the parliament and I embarked on a process for the 11th Parliament by bringing in a large number of women, younger women and we had 11 women in my government as Ministers and all of them have five years experience…I do not feel that we are short of experience.”
In a recent Facebook interview, party member and candidate James Bond lambasted Mr. Granger over his decision not to include the party’s Chairman Volda Lawrence among the persons heading to Parliament. Bond accused the party leader of being aloof and responsible for the party being out of power.
Questioned about his thoughts on Bond’s statements that might mirror the feelings of many of his supporters, Mr. Granger said he would not discuss the party’s business in the media and the party has a constitution to follow and those who want to raise their concerns about the party’s decision should know the process to address those concerns.