How and why did the PNC survive after it lost state power in 1992? There is only one answer – the ethnic factor in Guyana’s sociology.
Had there been an energetic, credible African-dominated organization to seek the embrace of African Guyanese, the PNC may have been weakened. The most pellucid example of this was the successful challenge posed by Good and Green Guyana (GGG). Under Hamilton Green, who Black people felt was a fighter for their cause, the GGG won over a number of high-profile PNC politicians.
GGG could not sustain itself and died a natural death. That left the PNC as the only outfit capable of reaching out to African Guyanese. There was ACDA of course, but it is happy to be a cultural organization. The opportunity to challenge the ethnic base of the PNC came about when the AFC was born. But African Guyanese still stuck with the PNC. Two reasons explained this.
First, the AFC was a victim of human nature. Black people felt it was too young and small to oust the PPP, so the numbers that voted for the AFC were not substantial to make them bigger than the PNC. Secondly, the AFC suffered the WPA syndrome of 1992. African Guyanese told the WPA in 1992 that they loved it, but wanted ethnic security, so they stayed with the PNC.
Indian Guyanese appreciated what the WPA had done, but preferred Cheddi Jagan to win. Both Indians and Africans wanted ethnic security in 2006 and despite their good wishes for the AFC, they voted race, as they did historically. However, the 2011 election results created a political tsunami.
Indian people felt that they were no longer afraid of the PNC in government because they had an Indian party that could be a bargaining chip. But it wasn’t that they perceived the AFC to be Indian; the AFC itself had some powerful Indian figures in it that made Indians optimistic. There were Nagamootoo, Ramjattan, popular Berbice lawyer Charrandas Persaud, Dr. Ramayya, Gerhard Ramsaroop, Rajendra Bissesar, Lionel Peters, among others. This is where Guyanese politics stands at the moment and it doesn’t look for the survival of the PPP.
Should the AFC get into government, it will mark the virtual extinction of the PPP. The PPP will not survive an AFC in power, just as the PNC could not have endured with a GGG as the main opposition. The contours, configuration and permutations are far from complex; in fact very simple.
First, an AFC in power will not neglect the needs of Indian constituencies. It will be suicidal to do so.
Secondly, the AFC will, through sheer commonsense, have to appear as a generous, incorruptible set of rulers if they are going to preserve their relationship with Indians. Only PPP soup-drinkers will deny that unimaginable and incredible levels of corruption have destroyed the PPP’s image worldwide. Almost ninety-nine percent of Guyanese in and out of Guyana believe that the PPP is obnoxiously corrupt.
Thirdly, there is the inevitable judicial inquiry which the PPP will not escape from. A PNC/AFC coalition government will either fall or become intolerant if they resist the desires from the population for an inquiry into the 23 years of PPP rule. The PPP will not survive the findings. The skullduggery involving murder, corruption, land-grabbing, sexual criminalities, judicial venalities, racial preferences, personal abominations, will degut the PPP.
It didn’t happen to the PNC, and even if there was a judicial commission into the reign of the PNC, the findings would not have been as evil-based as one would like to think it would be in the PPP’s 23 years of hegemony. The facts of the inquiry would have besmirched the PNC, but the effects would not have decapitated it.
In the case of the PPP, it is doubtful that the PPP as an organization can still function after a comprehensive probe into the nature of its violations. The “Sash” Sawh murder findings will make Indian people mad with the PPP. Former PPP big wigs will face prosecution.
Fourthly, many of the fulcrums on which the PPP presently stands, will be dissolved if the PPP loses power. Gone will be the Rice Producers’ Association, GAWU, NAACIE, the millions that come from favoured contractors, criminalized businessmen, and the debauched nouveau riche. These funds, when they go, literally wipe out the resource base of a fallen political party.
Lastly, there is absolutely none with any kind of talent or skills in the PPP to maintain its existence as an opposition political entity. Once the PPP falls from power, it will die. All PPP leaders are scared of this reality.
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