Vying for the top spot

Former government minister Dr. Faith Harding has entered the crowded field of candidates in the Guyana presidential race, vying for the opposition People’s National Congress/Reform (PNC/R)nomination for the 2011 election.

At a New York City gala at Brooklyn’s Steiner Studios on Dec. 19, Harding, the first Guyana-born woman to ever vie for the presidency, called on expatriates to “stand up and get ready to take Guyana forward.”

Dressed in red and pointing to her 25-year PNCR membership, Harding told the audience that infrastructure development and job creation would be at the top of her agenda if she gets the party’s nod to enter the race.

Without going into specifics, the 16-year MP also named community development and national service for the youth as part of her agenda for reform.

Using the words of Nat King Cole’s song, “Faith Can Move Mountains” as her inspiration, and with the support of her friend of 30 years — the Mighty Sparrow, to shore up her bid, Harding believes she has been called to serve in higher office, and pledges to do her utmost to bring about change in Guyana.

Harding, however may face a tough battle against retired Army Brig. Gen. David Granger, who is reported to be the PNC/R front-runner, although being a political neophyte and not well known to PNCR supporters.

Just over a week ago, the military man used his influence to garner backing from former army personnel and friends, who hosted the candidate at meetings in Brooklyn and Queens.

However attorney-at-law Basil Williams, has also thrown his hat in the race. Carl Greenidge, a former minister of finance, like Harding, who served under the Hoyte-led PNCR is being put forward by another faction headed by Dr. Richard Van-West Charles, to replace the reported favorite candidate, Winston Murray, who died suddenly after a fall.

Another group nominated Robert Corbin, even though his poor leadership of the PNCR has come under attack from supporters. He has indicated that he would not run, in the party where infighting has overshadowed effective guidance.

This is the first in bygone days that the PNCR, a historically black-led party has seen so many candidates vying for the nomination, to become the Head of State.

But according to the Kaieteur News, the PNCR Central Executive Committee, has scheduled Dec. 30, to publicize the approved list of candidates, and between Jan. 3 and 31, 2011, “as far as practicable”, the party will convene regional, countywide, town hall-style meetings with all nominess in atendance.

Then finally, by Feb. 19, the party would hold a special primary to elect the PNCR presidential candidate.

Guyana that has been polarized by racial division for decades, and has voted along racial lines, will no doubt see the same kind of politics because of the disenfranchised Guyanese who continue to experience a high rate of crime, unemployment and according to many of them, bad governance.

The presidential elections will be held sometime in August of 2011.