APNU should not do this. It is wrong
My attitude to APNU since the general elections in 2011 has not been one of optimism. I thought that with all that had happened under President Jagdeo, APNU had a good chance of winning a plurality of votes.
I surmised that in a tight three-way competition, APNU or the AFC would have come out in front in a very close race. The happy aftermath was the PPP did not win the Parliament.
With the opposition in control of the National Assembly, every citizen, including PPP supporters, was somewhat satisfied that at least there will be no nasty domination anymore because there would be checks and balances. I heard the grown up child of a top PPP leader saying that the election result was not a bad thing after all. Even though they voted for the PPP, Indians felt that the balance was good for Guyana in that no party was in command,
For supporters of the opposition –both APNU and AFC – the optimism was uncontrollable, the expectations were over-flowing. Specifically as it relates to APNU, its embracers felt that its leaders would go in Parliament and confront the PPP and roll back the sickening things the PPP Government had done to the Guyanese people as a whole.
It would be no exaggeration to say that PNC supporters who had now accepted the merger of their party into a new construct would emerge as the firebrand that they knew it to be before Mr. Corbin went “soft.”
As the months wore on, a creeping chagrin has taken over the minds of the voters who chose APNU on November 28, 2011. This is the feeling this writer is getting from the people he has met from all over Guyana, including Regions Six and Ten. A popular question you get is – where is APNU? For a small, new party with only seven seats, the AFC is far more visible in Guyana than APNU. In fact, this is putting it wrongly. AFC is visible, APNU is not. This is the point I relayed to Tony Vieira when we chatted at the symposium on the budget held at the Pegasus last Sunday.
I described for Vieira the number of places that the AFC has visited where protest has broken out but APNU never made an appearance since the general elections last year. There were two Berbice protests by sugar workers; demonstrations by the residents of Glasgow in Region Six over a deplorable state of the main road; two agitated picket lines outside the Enmore sugar estate; angry denunciations in the street over dust nuisance from a rice silo in Cane Grove; pickets for the treason accused and a five-week old industrial unrest at UG.
APNU made an appearance at one of these places. This was when Parliamentarian James Bond went to talk to the people of Glasgow after the AFC first arrived the day before. How interesting that the Government has put out a statement accusing the AFC of two sins – trying to poach on GAWU and seeking to create confusion in the sugar industry. APNU was so silent that the Government had no reason to accuse it of anything
Now against this background of dormancy, APNU has made a decision that will have grave consequences for opposition unity.
Under the Carter formula for GECOM, the opposition chooses three Commissioners and the Chairman. In the present scenario, the PNC had two appointees and Mr. Robert Williams came from a TUF recommendation. It was from the WPA that Dr. Surujbally’s name came.
Under the Carter formula, the PNC chose not to dominate the process and select all three opposition Commissioners. APNU has now moved away from that framework and wants to replace the deceased Williams with an APNU submission. This is my opinion its wrong The AFC has angrily rejected this unusual departure from the traditional pattern. The AFC represents 21 percent of the opposition in Parliament. Why should APNU be allowed to have all three opposition Commissioners? It is unfair and plays into the hands of the PPP at a time when the proportionality farce is in the air.
APNU has now adopted a formula which will have unpleasant consequences. I have been told that APNU has put forward four names to the APNU leadership. Three are APNU recommendations and the other is an ACF submission. This borders on the farcical because it is still APNU that has to choose. APNU has to return to the PNC’s generosity and give one Commissioner to the smaller parties in the opposition. Nothing less should be acceptable.