By Kiana Wilburg
“I was hoping the decision would have been different. But I am not surprised by the outcome of the People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) No-Confidence Motion… The Coalition was already deteriorating from within…”
Those sentiments were expressed by Executive Member of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), Dr. David Hinds, just moments after the successful passage of the Opposition’s No-Confidence Motion against the APNU+AFC Administration.
The success of the PPP motion was due to the supporting vote of Alliance For Change (AFC), Member, Charrandass Persaud.
Dr. Hinds said the fact that one can vote against his own, exposed the weakness of the Coalition. “I always said that the intra-coalition relations were destroyed.”
“The government has to take full responsibility for what happened. With such a slim majority, they governed as though they had a super majority. All of the coalition members did not feel a sense of ownership of the government. Therefore, the entire management of the coalition was just filled with mistakes.
“I have always said that when different parties come together, you have to be delicate. And with such a slim majority in the House, you need to be cautious about your policies…”
Dr. Hinds said that there were those in Government who recognized that the coalition was crumbling, “but those in charge were so drunk and seduced by power hence they couldn’t see this motion coming or its success.”
The political commentator said that the WPA will have to make a decision on whether it will go to the 2019 elections with the coalition or not.
He said that his party has not been active with the APNU, nor has the APNU tried to be active with the WPA. “We have a divergence meeting and will take a decision if we are going to leave or stay,” said Dr. Hinds.
Further to this, he said that the success of the Opposition’s No-Confidence Motion comes as a blow to those who believe in coalition politics. He said, too, that what the outcome exposes is the fact that the coalition underestimated the political acumen of the PPP.
“When the coalition went to elections, the PPP was badly wounded. When the APNU+AFC Party got into power, the PPP was able to move from being a party that was battered and bruised to bringing down the Government in three years.
“And they were winning all the arguments; from wages to sugar to authoritarianism…They are probably the first political party in the Caribbean to do what they did…”
The WPA Executive Member said that the Government has no one but itself to blame for its fall from grace.
TAKEN FOR GRANTED
For some time now, Dr. Hinds has lamented the fact that the Working People’s Alliance was taken for granted by its other coalition partners, particularly the People’s National Congress (PNC). He even said that the WPA’s role in government is minimal.
“We have one Minister, one Presidential Advisor and Chairs of Boards of two state institutions, NICIL and GuySuCo.
“In addition, Dr. Clive Thomas heads the State Asset Recovery Unit (SARU). I think in each of those institutions, despite challenges, our representatives have been trying to bring to bear WPA’s larger praxis of fairness, justice for the poor and the powerless and transparency.”
Speaking to the performance of Professor Thomas thus far, Dr. Hinds commented that his presence in the policy-making set up at the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) brought some common sense to the sugar industry.
Despite some problems at the level of implementation, he contended that for the first time, the nation witnessed willingness from the leaders of the day to break out of the political stranglehold in which the sugar industry has been mired. He emphasized that clearly, Thomas’ leadership has made a difference in the larger vision for sugar.
On the issue of State asset recovery, Dr. Hinds said that the SARU CEO has also led the way.
“I think he has singlehandedly placed the issue on the front burner and put us on the brink of a major breakthrough in that area of Government fight against public corruption,” expressed the University Professor.
In the area of education, the political activist said that the Minister, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine has begun to move the education praxis in a more democratic direction whereby more emphasis is placed on the children at the bottom of the social ladder. He noted that the reintroduction of music into the schools is another way of ensuring that education is released from the narrow confines it has reached.
But with all that said, Dr. Hinds said that the WPA faces real challenges.
“We are part of a coalition within a larger coalition, and given our lack of proximity to core decision making, our influence on the vision and direction of the government as a whole is muted. We also suffer from a simplistic view within the belly of the two bigger partners that since we did not ‘bring votes’ we should not be an influential player. That is a reality that we have no control over.”
Despite some positive movement in recent years, the political activist said that the deep suspicion between the PNC and the WPA still exists.
“There are PNC people who have never forgiven us for contributing to the demise of the previous PNC government while there are many WPA people who have not forgiven the PNC government for orchestrating the assassination of Walter Rodney.”
Dr. Hinds also stated that this thinking has influenced the leadership of the government to relate to the WPA as individuals rather than as a party. Except for the cabinet where the WPA has one voice, Dr. Hinds said that there is no other medium through which the WPA, as a party, can influence overall decision making.
He said, “We have been taken for granted largely because our leadership has taken a conciliatory attitude to the government whereby in the interest of unity, we have tempered our instinct to be more critical of government’s shortcomings. We have come under a lot of pressure from members and supporters for that approach, which is seen as a departure from our core praxis.”
To this end, the Executive Member of the WPA said that the party is planning a general members meeting to address this and other burning issues, including morale among some of the members who have been shut out from participation in the government.
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