We may still have bad things to say about the PNC, that is, those who knew it when it ruled Guyana. But the story of the PNC should include some important changes. First, the PNC was positively transformed by Desmond Hoyte. Secondly, the PNC is not the same party that was in power from 1964 to 1992.
Many new faces came into the PNC after Burnham’s death and their impulses weakened the one-man culture that the PPP and PNC were born with. Young Turks inside the PNC after 1997 were brave enough to engage in internal leadership warfare. That has never happened in the PPP.
Most importantly, the PNC held primaries to determine the winner for its presidential slot for the 2011 elections. It was a phenomenally positive development. You can lay all kinds of charges against the smooth running of the process. You can cite a million imperfections.
What is undeniably good about the primaries is that the policy marked the beginning of democratic pathways. Personally speaking, I don’t think it went as elegantly as it should have, but I would be guilty of reprehensible immorality if I deny that this is a turning point in the PNC’s politics.
If the PPP had followed the PNC and gone in a similar direction, the resulting optimism would have created a new hope for Guyana. Sadly, the traditional, historic pessimism remains. The PPP reminded us of the old politics, old political cultures that have destroyed this nation.
A closed door cabal chose the PPP’s 2011 point man. It is my opinion that this will cost that party at the elections among young voters. Young people are impatient with backdoor politics. Can the PPP attempt changes like the PNC? It can happen. The PPP has to produce its Vincent Alexanders.
Some names in the PPP seem to be disenchanted not only with the present style of governance, but also with the direction in which the 2006 government has taken the PPP. Any analyst who is worth his/her salt cannot deny that the PPP today bears no resemblance to the dreams and plans of Cheddi Jagan.
This writer is no admirer of Dr. Jagan but the evidence is overwhelming that he was not infatuated with wealth and would not have allowed a prodigious gap between the wealthy strata and the working masses. Burnham and Jagan deeply cared for the labouring classes, and in this sense, were ferocious protectors of the country’s resources.
The names that have emerged revolve around Moses Nagamootoo, Ralph Ramkarran, Navin and Indra Chandrapal and Komal Chand. All five would neatly fall into the classification of Jaganite ideologues. To put it another way, they are practitioners of the Jagan style of nation-building.
Can these longstanding PPP leaders bring some semblance of modern democracy to the PPP? It doesn’t look so? They are eerily quiet. It seems that they have run away. But ironically, with their advancing age, they are the only ones with nothing to lose in challenging the destroyers of the Jaganite legacy – those that currently control and dominate the PPP.
Can they change the PPP? Do they want to do it? More importantly, are they in a position to do anything at all? The answer is no. They are outside of the war-room. All of these persons cannot stop the hegemonic and wealthy cabal that controls the PPP. They simply do not have the strategic placements inside the PPP to do so before the elections. If the PPP wins, there is no place for them (Nagamootoo is permanently out).
And if they are given parliamentary seats or governmental jobs, they will not be allowed a huge say in the PPP’s policy-making machine.
If the PPP loses the elections, as is the convention in politics elsewhere in the world, the beneficiaries disappear and the rebuilding process becomes inevitable. Here is where these names can democratize the PPP by taking it over after the autocrats leave. The trouble is even if they want to, will they have the psychological buoyancy to administer the PPP way into 2016 with no guarantee that the PPP will win in that year?
It would seem that among the identities listed above, some are inclined to fade away; others are prepared to be the subordinates of the new PPP Leviathans. The one personality that will not accept to retire is Nagamootoo. What will he do? Going back into the PPP for the election is not an option. It will make Nagamootoo the most discredited politician in the world.
The only choice for Nagamootoo is to find a political alternative to the PPP. Time is running out.
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