Race voting is no excuse for accepting dictatorship, corruption within PPP, PNC
The elites controlling the PNC and PPP have used the race card to control the Guyanese people. And the Guyanese voters, 70% of which are Indians and Africans, predominantly vote race. That majority comprised of Indians and Africans largely vote race. Because of this statistical actuality, it means the majority of Guyanese vote race. Now, there are many reasons why people vote race- ethnic triumphalism, fear, racial retaliation, ethnic protection, affinity with one’s race, custom, tradition, family pressure, community influence, identity, past experience, ignorance, lack of education, mis-education, bigotry, limited exposure and other factors.
The essence of our reality in Guyana is one of racism in politics and political voting behaviour. That is changing slowly in several distinct patterns: (1) More voters are refusing to vote for race-based parties resulting in lower overall voter turnout (69% in 2006 and 73% in 2011), (2) Multi-racial political platforms such as the AFC have cemented vital support and grown in the last two election although slowly, (3) Other powerful issues such as corruption, crime, the economy and wrongdoing have replaced race as the primary voting consideration in the minds of some voters. In the case of the PPP, the hijacking of the party by the Jagdeoites is a telling factor in how PPP supporters view this cabal dominating the PPP.
That said, race voting is still king in Guyana’s politics. But voting race has nothing to do with internal democracy within political parties. Those who vote race for the PNC/APNU and PPP (primarily Africans and Indians) and who feel that they must support those race-based parties for ethnic inclinations cannot equate their support for those parties with tolerating internal dictatorship, wrongdoing and elitism within those parties. This is one of the gravest atrocities committed by race voters who back the PPP and PNC/APNU. They blindly support these parties and give no consideration to the fact that while they can unswervingly support the PPP and PNC/APNU based on race, they have a right to demand democracy, fairness, equality and non-elitist or populist practices.
These race-driven voters who comprise the majority of this country are to blame for the mess we have in our political situation in Guyana. They never insist on their parties changing, adapting and being fair, egalitarian and pluralistic. Then they feel the hardships and sufferings when these same entities controlled by the corrupt and immoral batter them into servitude. This happened under the PNC and now it is happening under the PPP. There are race-based parties all over Europe that practice democracy and pursue term limits, open primaries, better internal electoral mechanisms, stronger party disciplinary measures and the like. Vile race voting does not preclude democracy, accountability and transparency. What is stopping the PNC and PPP supporters from challenging the formation of executives that are dominated by those who have held onto positions for donkey years. If these men and women have delivered nothing of substance, why not insist on a fairer and more inclusive system of election? Why has there been no court challenge to these rotten subversive and undemocratic practices within the PPP and PNC? We have parties with thousands of members and tens of thousands of strong supporters. Why haven’t these supporters joined the party and voted for serious change?
Are PNC supporters really telling me that Corbin who brought the PNC to its most shameful performance in 2006 and Hamilton Green who presides over the filthiest city in the western hemisphere are leaders who deserve to sit on the executive of the PNC? Voting race or supporting the PNC to the very end has nothing to do with this shameful fiasco where failed leaders retain dominant roles within the party. The same applies to the PPP where the Jagdeoites hijacked the party, cancelled the congress to deny the voice of the wider membership and supporters and we have had nothing but silence from PPP members. The Amerindian and Mixed voters have left the PPP in 2011 and more will leave in the next election so their position has been communicated loud and clear to the PPP.
It is the overwhelmingly Indian voters who are in the moral spotlight right now. Will they leave the PPP to self-destruct under the weight of the corrupt or will they start a revolution within the PPP? Race voting is sickening but the affliction of encouraging non-accountability within those race-based parties makes the epidemic even worse. When will PNC members and supporters stand up and tell the PNC that concerns of electoral rigging that surround its every election are not going to be tolerated any longer by expelling those who practice these rotten trysts?
When are PPP and PNC supporters going to stand up for new, vibrant and dynamic leadership appearing in this country? They know that if the same failed dinosaurs keep dominating the executives of these race parties, it will stifle and suffocate brilliant new leadership. When will they change these charlatans and install bold and creative leadership? When will these parties hold open primaries where not just a handful of handpicked delegates but the entire membership vote for a Barack Obama or Mahatma Gandhi or Lula Silva type leader? If these countries with millions of party members can find genuine change leadership, why can’t this race-centred backwater with less than a million people find its Mandela or Nehru?
It is because we have destructive political parties that are dictatorships and elitist organizations. The old pretenders see new leadership as a challenge to them so they expel or force them out. The entire country loses. These abject political parties prefer to hold shams and pretences called congresses where the same handpicked group of worshippers show up every few years and select the same set of disasters to rule the party. Then these delegates disappear for the next three years while the emperors ride roughshod over the party. It is a truly shameful tragedy that the two largest parties in this country of three-quarters of a million people cannot hold an open primary where the thousands of its members across the length and breadth of Guyana can vote for candidates. Let it run as an open primary one region at a time and the losers must drop out if they fail to secure a certain number of votes.
Voting for the PPP or PNC on the basis of race does not prevent Indians and Africans in this country from insisting on certain basic changes to the political parties they vote for. Indians and Africans must insist on term limits. They must insist on serious reform of their parties and the manner they practice politics. The bunch of yes-men, sycophants, deceivers, incompetents, ethnic marauders, hacks, opportunists and dinosaurs who continue to dominate the PPP and PNC would never be allowed in the party and cannot be allowed to deny men and women of integrity from power within the party. I blame Indians and Africans for this fiasco because they are the majority of this country and they put these two parties into power election after election. If you are going to vote for a particular party even if on the basis of race, your vote must be worth something and must be for a party that stands for something other than an elitist and despotic structure. Race voting is no excuse for accepting dictatorship and elitist political entities. Indian and African voters who do nothing to demand something of value in return for their vote enable the corrupters, cronies, plutocrats, thieves, degenerates and incompetents within the PPP and PNC. If these members and supporters exercised their power to fix these parties to remove the diseases and the elitism that have consumed these parties, Guyana would have been a better place. It is time to force those parties to change. It is the only way Guyana will change. Members should bring motions at the conferences for constitutional change to ensure there is greater democracy within their party.
In response to the bandits suspending its mandatory and constitutionally due congress, PPP members should start a petition signed by PPP members for a special conference focused on serious change within that party. PPP and PNC/APNU members must take their own leadership to court to challenge them to implement democracy within the party. When a dedicated son of the PPP like Ralph Ramkarran could be forced out in this fashion, it means the party no longer belongs to its members. Not because you surrender your vote on the basis of race, it means you must surrender your right to a party of integrity, change and good governance.