May 05, 2015 Editorial
The election campaign season is always one that brings out the best and the worst of Guyanese nature. In the old days political campaigning was largely a case of speakers with some public address system standing on some empty plot of land.
The speakers were all listened to because people loved to attend political meetings if only to find something to do with the time they had. They listened to the ranting and raving of the speakers and made their decisions about whom they would vote for. Of course, political meetings were full of hilarious banter. There were the accusations directed against other politicians and of course there were the hecklers from the crowd.
Not much has changed over the years except that the system of political meetings has become more of an attack on people rather than on policies. There are those who would say that the political divide was not as sharp; of course there was no post-election violence. Life continued as it was the day before the elections.
Today, we have politicians who play to the ethnic gallery, seeking to entrench the race vote. Former president Bharrat Jagdeo has been accused of race baiting. In fact, he has been taken to court over comments that have been deemed enough to spark ethnic unrest.
Much has been made of the fact that he has been the only person on the campaign trail accused of incitement. He was reported to have uttered equally inciteful comments when he addressed an Indian Immigration rally on Friday at the National Stadium, Providence.
But there are other incidents equally abhorrent as this silly season continues. Someone with a camera pictured a woman standing over a party flag and urinating on it. Not only is urinating in public a disgusting feature, but doing it in the presence of many, including young children must shock public moral.
There was a time when such an incident would have escaped notice but in these days when every individual is a cameraman because of the smart phones that abound, nothing escapes. So the urinating woman makes the headlines.
It has not escaped notice that the ruling People’s Progressive Party has complained about the presence of children who turn up at meetings of the government being held in the locations considered opposition strongholds. These children have been accused of disrupting a recent political meeting.
Children could only behave in a certain manner with the permission of their parents. But the presence of children at political meetings is nothing new. The General Secretary of the ruling PPP admitted that at a rally in Berbice there were many children. Parents desirous of attending the meetings may not feel comfortable leaving their children at home.
Certainly this was the case in the past when public meetings were a welcome distraction from the boring routine of early to bed. Today, with television and other distractions public meetings are no longer the calling cards they once were. The result is that unless people are supportive then their presence would only be for disruptive purposes.
Allowing these children to misbehave at the meetings is something that should not happen. That it has happened in the city is ground for criticism.
People once hurled rotten eggs at political meetings as a means of silencing speakers on the political platform now they hurl missiles that can seriously hurt the speaker.
To think that these things happen even as the political parties have signed a code of conduct is a clear indication of how much regard people have for contracts and agreements. It also demonstrates how political campaigns have become akin to wars. The government has succeeded in alienating a large section of the people and in the process, creating a measure of anger in the hearts of those who dislike the government.
This time there has not been too much disruption of opposition party paraphernalia. But there are the complaints at the drop of a hat. The election tension is well and truly in place.
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