Former president David Granger has denied stepping down as leader of Guyana’s opposition People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), insisting that he has only taken “temporary leave.
“I have not demitted office as party leader. I shall spend my vacation in Guyana,” said the 76-year-old Granger, who is reportedly seeking a third term as leader of the party, which is the biggest partner in the coalition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) that lost the controversial regional and general elections last year after one term in office.
Granger has taken leave from September 1 reportedly to focus on his health. But in his letter to the Central Executive Committee, the former head of state is reported to have made no mention of his illness. In 2018, he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and had been treated in Cuba.
Granger said that he was taking a “temporary leave of absence” because he needed to rest and deal with “personal matters. He had been diagnosed with cancer in 2018.
“I had a steady governmental work schedule as Leader of the Opposition and as President of Guyana for much of the past ten years. I have now decided to take this opportunity to proceed on leave so that I could enjoy a period of well-deserved rest and attend to personal matters,” he wrote in his letter.
Political observers note the timing of the decision by Granger, adding that the party is preparing for its Congress later this year where the new executive including the leader, will be elected.
Granger is likely to face a challenge to his leadership from at least three candidates, including the chairman, Volda Lawrence.
The political observers note that Granger has been at loggerheads with the central executive in recent months, particularly following the elections and where his leadership has come under criticism amidst complaints that the executive has been left out of major decisions of the party.
David Granger, a retired military officer, was first elected as the party’s presidential candidate in 2011 out that the Congress elected him as a presidential candidate in 2011 leading the party into three general elections in 2011, 2015, and 2020 and two local government elections.