Guyana is once again at the political crossroads—it must be. There is a permanency to our condition. The idealists in our midst hope that things were different. As we mourn the loss of three distinguished legal luminaries, one wonders where their replacements are.
I reflected on the sad tale recently related to me by one of my longtime colleagues from the warrior days in the WPA, Andaiye, and I agonized over what to do about the deep political crisis we face. Andaiye is no longer active in the day to day politics of our country, but she is constantly thinking about how to navigate the very difficult political terrain we have inherited and cultivated.
Her question has haunted me this past week—Is there a group of Guyanese that can be mobilized to articulate an alternative to the status quo. I told her of a small group of younger people that I am in touch with, but that I have little confidence that they have the courage to take a public contrary stand.
She and I reflected on the fact that the nucleus of the revolutionary WPA, which Guyana was once in love with, thought little of personal security. We sacrificed for what we felt was the good of the country, but as we move into the twilight of our earthly lives, we barely evade poverty. It is that outcome that I think prevents young people from taking independent positions—the price is far too high. And this in turn contributes to the political stultification that cripples our nation.
As I read in the press that President Jimmy Carter is talking to the maximum leaders, I feel more than a tinge of sadness. I ask—is this what independence means? Carter was able to convince our leaders of three decades ago to agree to conditions that led to the return of credible elections, and here he is today playing the identical role.
So, there must be something seriously wrong with a country in which its young people are scared to take public stands on anything political. And there must be something worse when our leaders are incapable of finding solutions to basic problems unless prompted by external forces. One is prompted to ask if our independence is worth anything. Where are the leaders and followers with the vision and courage to put country before party and self?
Why is it so difficult for our leaders to understand that implied in the constitutional directive that elections should be held ninety days after a successful No Confidence Vote (NCV), is that all arrangements are in place for credible elections? Why do our leaders believe that the constitution is so stupid that it would assume an election in which a credible voters’ list is absent? Why do our leaders not know that it is foolish to read one clause in the constitution in isolation from the rest of that document? And do they not know that in the absence of continuous registration, GECOM cannot be always ready for elections at the click of a finger?
And why do they not know that GECOM cannot be the ultimate decider when it comes to the date for elections? Do they not know that the buck stops with the president in that regard? Do they not know that GECOM’s job is to conduct elections, but the president’s job is to run the country?
If anyone felt that elections would have been held 90 days after the NCV, then they knew nothing about Guyana’s political history and culture. And if anyone felt that the PPP would have remained quiet in the face of delayed elections, then they are strangers to our political reality. One of the faults of Guyanese political culture is the leaders’ inability to see beyond their cause. The PPP is so guilty of that sin that one wonders whether they are sincerely interested in Guyana’s well-being.
Guyana is up to no good; we are living on a political time bomb that would explode at the slightest irritation. The cry about constitutional crisis has lost its commonsense. And the dependence on a directive from GECOM has lost any real meaning. This impasse must be settled by political give-and-take. Unlocking complexity calls for creative intellect. Do our leaders have that?
More of Dr. Hinds’ writings and commentaries can be found on his YouTube Channel Hinds’ Sight: Dr. David Hinds’ Guyana-Caribbean Politics and on his website www.guyanacaribbeanpolitics.news. Send comments to [email protected]
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