Whenever the supporters of a political party are forced to resort to the tactics adopted last Thursday during a PPPC meeting in Buxton, then the writing is on the wall for that party.
The attempt to disrupt that meeting by using such large numbers of supporters shows a clear intention. It also reveals a state of mind that the party knows that its back is up against the wall and it sees defeat staring it straight in the face. The reaction of last Thursday indicates that APNU may be about to throw in the towel and is resorting to tactics that are usually adopted when a party knows that it is facing electoral humiliation.
The sight of large numbers of APNU supporters holding flyers, heckling the speakers on the PPP platform at a political meeting in Buxton signals that even if their leaders still feel they have a chance to do well in the elections, the supporters have virtually now conceded defeat and are trying to do as the vanquished but defiant often do in these situations, taunt and make the rival party look ridiculous.
It was a disgraceful piece of behaviour. This country can do without such conduct at this time. So far the election campaign has been generally orderly. And while the behaviour of the crowd was not violent it was disruptive and cannot be excused as persons exercising their democratic right to protest. There is nothing democratic about persons exercising a right while impeding others from exercising theirs.
The people of Buxton had a right, no matter which party they support, to listen to what the PPPC has to say and those that turned up and put on that little show on Thursday night were denying those people that right.
This resort of large numbers of supporters from one party turning up at the political meeting of another party speaks to a worrying development in the run up to this month’s polls and is something that should be discouraged.
However, it will be hard to find a political party which is going to reprimand its supporters. Not in Guyana. And not so close to an election. After the incident on Nomination Day when the barricades outside City Hall were overrun by supporters of APNU, the party tried to deny that any such thing happened. No one expected the party to do otherwise because this is the political season.
What took place at Buxton was however not a spontaneous reaction. It was orchestrated and those behind it were driven by the fear and the realization that APNU is not going to win these elections.
It was also driven by something else. It was driven by the idea that the people of that community should not be allowed to be influenced by the ruling party. Those who went there to disrupt the meeting were also saying indirectly that the people of that community should not have independence of thought.
The people of Buxton, from all reports rejected being treated this way, rejected the supporters of APNU trying to control their minds by limiting their exposure to other parties. Earlier this year when the President of Guyana paid a visit to that community, there were political activists from the Working People’s Alliance who made it known clearly that the President had no right in that community and they urged the people to reject the president’s offers. They too feel that they owned that community and that people they could control there.
Every party has the right to try to win the support of any community. No party has a right to lay claim to total control of any community. Under the laws of Guyana any party has a right to hold a meeting in any part of the country because no community is any party’s private property and it is an insult to the people of that proud village to not be allowed to hear what persons from political parties, other than APNU, have to say to them.
If those who feel they control Buxton were so assured of the support from that area, why then was it necessary to resort to the action that was taken last Thursday? The only explanation is that there are persons who feel that APNU is facing defeat once again in the face and cannot deal with this reality. The consolation therefore is to try to ridicule and make the ruling party look ridiculous.
The support that the ruling party is receiving is scaring some within APNU. The ruling party is making inroads, and has been doing so quietly and consistently over the years. And they are winning supporters who previously supported the opposition parties.
However, there are good men and women in APNU who should be able to ensure that the party is not embarrassed by what is happening on the ground. When defeat is staring you in the face, you stand up with honor and dignity. You become a winner by how you accept your defeat, not by how you try to discount the winner.
History was certainly made in Buxton last Thursday when a political meeting was held and for the first time, in recorded history, there were more rival supporters than there were supporters of the party hosting the meeting. In fact, it was the presence of the opposition supporters with their placards that helped boost the numbers at the meeting. What a thing!
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