I was having lunch at Excellence Restaurant on Charlotte Street, last Monday, with Leonard Craig and Marlon Williams, of the Alliance for Change, and Ronald Shepherd, Deputy REO of Region Three, when two young men I knew came up to the table and joined us. During the conversation something happened that startled me – the two young men were in the leadership of Team Legacy, one of the many groups outside of the traditional party structure contesting the upcoming local government elections.
This was news to me. I didn’t know they were interested in politics. I really didn’t follow the news on Team Legacy. Naturally I know of Team Benschop. This revelation has put me in a really ticklish situation. How am I going to vote at the proportional representation (PR) level? I know in my constituency, Turkeyen, I will give my X to Brian Mackintosh. I am still uncertain about my PR vote though I am certain it will not go to APNU+AFC.
I have a deep philosophical problem with the same party controlling central power and local power. And we are not dealing with a long standing democratic society. We are living in Guyana, a traditional authoritarian state. A caveat is important at this stage. If you accept the man, David Granger, the President of this country as being a well-intentioned democrat, that doesn’t mean that the state in Guyana is not authoritarian.
The state in 2016 in Guyana is a reversion to the overdeveloped colonial state and it is deeply authoritarian.
Not because David Granger is democratic it means that Guyana is. Barack Obama is democratic but the US is a troubled country with serious forms of racism. I cannot look into my philosophical mind and accept the structure of power being in the hands of the same organization at both the local and central level. That is not the way I understand the concept of the distribution of power.
But even if I wanted to, it would be the abandonment of my intellectual training and long praxis, to vote for the APNU-AFC coalition in the local government poll for the honest reason that I do not see revolutionary vision and transformative culture in the Government of Guyana.
I believe both Nagamootoo and Granger are not leaders who are prepared to embrace a maverick, radical pathway. Such a direction is vital for the moral and cultural reconstruction of Guyana. This is a socially, morally damaged nation of which the depth of recovery compels Guyana to seek visionary, transformational leadership.
Guyana may have some clean, non-corruptible, nationalistic men and women in office but these are not the factors that a destroyed nation like Guyana needs to take into the future. It needs transformational leaders with strong will and determination to go into unchartered waters.
This has been a long detour from the subject of local government elections. One doesn’t know what life holds and humans are particularly a disappointing species, but it will be best for this country if fresh faces with fresh ideas make the journey into the political kingdom of this country. And we are seeing this with local government elections.
I know the two young men that I had lunch with on Monday have a good intellectual grasp of the theory and practice of Guyanese politics. We spent about three hours at the Oasis Café four months ago discussing Guyanese history and Guyanese politics. The ideas were impressive. Such young men are good prospects for the political future.
Mark Benschop invited me and KN journalist, Rawle Welch, into his campaign office at Quamina and Thomas Streets last week. There we saw very young Guyanese with a passion to change the way city politics is practised. When you look at these newcomers you are stunned that people who have been in the Council for over twenty-five years and have destroyed localized democracy will be running against these fresh faces.
Then there are the Independents. There is Pastor Wendell Jeffrey. From his voluminous letters in the local newspapers, it would appear that Guyana has found another democratic voice outside of the traditional three-party hegemons – PNC, PPP and AFC. He is contesting the ward that I was born into – Wortmanville. Unfortunately I will be voting in Turkeyen. But I wish the Pastor well.
As we come down to the elections, some nasty things are being revealed about the dinosaurs that controlled the City purse for so long. But strangely, I do not hear about any castigation from the APNU-AFC leadership. What about the controversies of contracts given out by City Hall for the clean-up campaign? Sounds like PPP style to me.
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