Jan 31, 2015 Letters
Dr. David Hinds has been reported as saying that “after 23 years of an Indian Guyanese presidency, African Guyanese are being asked to vote for another”. I know Dr. Hinds is a skillful writer, but at first I was wondering did he really think this through to the end before making this statement.
Did he factor into this school of thought that the PNC in whatever shape or form it took (APNU, PNCR, etc.) never won a free and fair elections in Guyana, not even a plurality? What is more ethnically dishonourable to say, is that we had Afro-Guyanese rulers since 1968 who were elevated to office by fraud. The vision is to see people like Nigel Hughes and Sharma Solomon winning elections fair and square on merit. It can be done and it will be done.
Guyana remains a poor and racially polarized country, exactly because the majority of the key national decisions over the last 50 years were made from an ethnic standpoint. If we continue within this ethnic paradigm, we will end up with a Government that is no better than either the PPP of present or PNC of the past.
I want to go on record to acknowledge that other than the decade of progress from 1989-1999, both of these Governments have failed us miserably. Thus it is unreasonable to ask the majority of the people to swallow more of the PPP or the PNC (in the form of the APNU).
What are the rational options?
1. A 3-way race – all available electoral indicators are illustrating that the PPP shall win a smaller plurality (PPP wins, Guyana loses);
2. A combined anti-PPP alliance led by APNU – this will end up as a dead heat racial war between the PPP and APNU. Fear politics will take centre stage, further turning off the youths who are the soldiers that can make a difference and break this PPP/PNC-configured model of ethnic politics. In such conditions the most likely outcome is a slim PPP majority victory, since the AFC will be obliterated (“dead meat”). Pound for pound the PPP’s elections machinery is much superior to APNU’s. That machinery can bring out the hardcore base from the villages, something that APNU/PNC has never equalled, even when the PNC was in Government. (PPP wins again);
3. A combined anti-PPP alliance led by the AFC, with APNU being offered the majority of the cabinet – This is the PPP’s greatest fear, since they recognize that they do not have the political ammunition to peddle racism in the East Indian communities against a political giant like Moses Nagamootoo who has roots in the rural communities several layers deep. When the Moses factor is added to the APNU base, the PPP shall be beaten fair and square, since their racist messages will fall flat on deaf ears.
Why? Many persons who voted for the PPP in the past are ready to peel away from the PPP, but they need a leader who they can align with. Try telling them that they must vote for the Palm Tree. That is like telling a former PNC supporter to vote for the Cup. This option will also give the AFC, as the balance of power party, that mandate to lead the process of writing a new Constitution. (Guyana wins).
APNU has a clear choice – more of the PPP in Government or the majority of the seats in the next Cabinet of the Government of Guyana. If APNU allows egos which drives this loose concept of ethnic honour to dictate its political actions in these negotiations, especially in an environment where the non-tribal population is at its highest levels, it will have no one to blame for the fossilization of its coailition. In the last census some 35 percent of Guyanese did not consider themselves as East Indian or Africans. This is a key factor in letting the process move away from the politics of the past.
I however agree with Dr. Hinds that at this juncture, “African Guyanese are being asked to make a tremendous sacrifice”. But this is the sacrifice required to see the back of the PPP. This is not an easy decision for APNU, but history and the coalition’s own supporters will judge them harshly if we end up with five more years of the PPP dominating the Government of Guyana and further marginalizing the working class.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind Dr. Hinds of the words of Martin Luther King Jr. who once said “human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step towards the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle”.
Just as the struggles of Dr. King’s crystallized into a President Obama; who knows this 2015 sacrifice being asked of APNU may crystallize into a President Sharma Solomon one day soon.
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