An interesting thought from attorney Nigel Hughes
For a majority of people in this country, if there is to be a boycott of the next general election by the combined opposition parties, the Alliance for Change would be the problem. The thinking is that there is more of a boycott philosophy in some influential leaders in the PNC organization than in the AFC.
There are many strong views inside the PNC that the time has come to do away with the Westminster constitutional system in this land and continuous elections under it, just perpetuate destructive divisions among the Guyanese population.
The entire leadership of ACDA and the WPA tend to embrace this position. It would not be unfair to the AFC to say that it has shown no inclination to adopt a strategy of non participation in future elections without constitutional reform.
We could see a change in that attitude that could make for an exciting future for Guyana. Last Sunday three influential opposition leaders were on television. Khemraj Ramjattan and Rupert Roopnaraine faced questions from Christopher Ram while separately Nigel Hughes was interviewed by Yesu Persaud. The revelations of both programmes are encouraged from every political standpoint.
First, there was Nigel Hughes’s statement to Mr. Persaud that he does not feel that Guyana should have another general election before constitutional changes are implemented. Mr. Hughes never said that he was speaking on behalf of the AFC. But it is public knowledge that he is a large voice of reason inside the AFC.
This writer would go so far to say that though he is not its leader or Chairman, it is doubtful any major AFC policy would be made without his input. His voice and presence in the AFC are considerably large.
My own personal thinking from my acquaintance with AFC politics is that Hughes may be its next leader. That is a direction this columnist would definitely urge the AFC to reflect on deeply. My honest and genuine feeling is that outside of Eusi Kwayana who has long migrated, there is no current leader in Guyana that comes closest to matching the personal and intellectual qualities of Walter Rodney than Nigel Hughes.
Since self government in British Guiana, I believe only Rodney as an individual as distinct from an organization (as in the case of the Burnham/Jagan PPP, the original WPA and the current AFC) has been successful in winning cross racial support. I think at the moment, only Hughes has that distinction among the current leaders.
Can Nigel Hughes persuade the AFC not to compete in another general election without Guyana having constitutional restructuring that is so desperately needed to save this country? I hope he can. When he begins his persuasion campaign, I will assist because as an academic and political activist, for me, it is the only game in town. It is the only strategy that will save this country from eventual destruction.
As Hughes pointed out to Mr. Persaud, when one side of the divide is in power, the other half is denied.
One has to be morally and intellectually dishonest to deny this reality. I have been an activist against the two PNC Governments –under Messrs Burnham and Hoyte – and I saw and felt the insecurity, fear and pessimism of East Indians. I say without any apology to anyone, the cries of discrimination from Africa Guyanese in Guyana at the moment have been more echoing and reverberating than when I lived under those two PNC Governments.
In fairness to President Hoyte, I embrace the theory that he remains the most multi-racial governmental leader we had had since the fifties.
The only way these divisions are going to be removed and the spirit of development and creativity allowed to flourish in this tragic land is a constitutional system that prevents the control of absolute power in the hand of an ethnic constituency through the instrumentality of its political party.
This has been Guyana’s modern history. The nightmare has to be exorcized before it is too late. We keep saying that we will survive and this is because things are all quiet and we go on with our lives. It is called the calm before the storm. The storm may take years or decades to come ashore but it will one day.
Over to Roopnaraine and Ramjattan. There were moments of hope when both men promised that the AFC and APNU will seek closer relationships. Then Roopnaraine said that what the opposition needs outside of parliamentary activities is a national campaign against the Government. Let’s hope we start it before tomorrow comes. It is long overdue.