…party cannot win elections on its own, undermining AFC, WPA detrimental – Dr Hinds warns …says those ‘not worried’ about coalition’s future making serious political miscalculation By Michael YoungeAmidst growing concerns that the People’s National Congress (PNC) continues to show disregard and disdain for the spirit and letter of agreements it signed with key coalition partners, Political Scientist Dr David Hinds says the PNC must recognize that it cannot win a free and fair election on its own at this juncture in Guyana’s history, as its core support group is no longer emotionally attached to the party.President David Granger, PNC Leader and APNU ChairmanDr Hinds was referring to the charter which was signed between the PNC and the Working Peoples Alliance party (WPA) along with a handful of smaller parties, which resulted in the formation of ‘A Partnership for National Unity’ (APNU), and the Cummingsburg Accord which was negotiated with the Alliance for Change (AFC) ahead of the 2015 elections.Speaking with Guyana Times on Thursday during an exclusive interview, Hinds, who is an Executive Member of the WPA, said also said that current political and electoral demographics are not in the PNC’s favour.His comment comes on the heels of widespread suspicions that the PNC, which now has access to Executive power through the coalition arrangement, had no problem contesting the upcoming 2020 elections alone, hence the disregard and neglect shown to the concerns raised by other coalition partners about some of the decisions that have been made by the David Granger Administration without their consultation and consent in some instances.“The PNC cannot win a free and fair election on its own at this historical juncture. The demographics are not in its favour.When you add to that the fact that a new generation of African Guyanese (has) no emotional attachment to the party and are more inclined to the APNU, that possibility becomes so remote. The PNC’s only chance of remaining in Government is via a partnership or Coalition. In that regard, it needs the AFC and the WPA”, the Political Scientist said.He explained that it was important to note that the WPA and AFC bring votes to the Coalition because they reassure voters that the historical baggage of the PNC would be contained.“So every time the PNC faction behaves in ways that undermine the AFC and WPA, they alienate not only Indian Guyanese but the growing African Guyanese section of the society that (is) not wedded to party paramountcy and the notion of PNC invincibility”, he remarked.Dr Hinds expressed the strong conviction that “African Guyanese voters are not as monolithic in their political instincts as some PNC leaders would have us believe”; and he supported his argument by stating: “…that community has always accommodated a variety of influences. Whether it was Kwayana’s ASCRIA, Rodney’s WPA, Hamilton Green’s GGG, or Raphael Trotman’s AFC, African Guyanese have shown that they are prepared to be plural in their political behaviour.“That’s why the notion of a Partnership and a Coalition appealed to them in 2011 and 2015, and I think it would again be a deciding factor in 2020. So those who are not worried about dissatisfaction within the coalition are making a serious miscalculation”, the WPA Executive said.Addressing the WPA’s own agreement with the APNU, Dr Hinds admitted that there have been no formal talks between the PNC and WPA, or within the APNU since the 2015 elections.This is despite the fact that the charter makes provisions for meetings and discussions on a continuum between those who form part of its structure.“But my personal view is that there is need for a look not at the content of the APNU Charter, but at whether we have lived up to its letter and spirit. At first glance, there is a strong view within the leadership of the WPA that we have not honoured the letter and spirit of the charter insofar as it relates to intra-partnership decision-making and discharging of governmental duties”, he related.Asked whether the WPA has written the Political Head of the APNU, President David Granger, to address these burning concerns, the University Professor said this has been done formally on many occasions.“…whenever the Leadership Council meets, we (members) raise our concerns, but not much has changed; we are still sidelined and taken for granted. The attitude of the leadership has been to engage selected individuals from the party, while ignoring our collective concerns. To its credit, the APNU leadership put in place a mechanism to address our concerns, but it has taken little action on the reports and findings that emanate from this process”, he informed.It is felt that Dr Hinds may be referring to the relationship that currently exists between President Granger, who is the leader of the PNC and APNU, and Dr Rupert Roopnaraine, who is an Executive of the WPA. Dr Roopnaraine and Desmond Trotman have been appointed to Parliament after being selected by the WPA as its representatives.After the coalition won the 2015 elections, Dr Roopnaraine was first appointed as Education Minister, before being demoted to head a Department of Public Service within the Ministry of the Presidency, where he serves as Minister with responsibility for Public Service.Only recently, Dr Roopnaraine broke ranks with key players in the WPA who had critcised the coalition’s leadership for not practising good governance, inclusivity, and democratic decision-making tendencies by saying that they would have a hard time trying to convince him that the WPA should walk away from the coalition in order to save its image and preserve the legacy of Dr Walter Rodney.