The little I know of Gobin Harbhajan is from the many newspaper reports. I recalled the folks who had visited his office complaining that a major case – the Marcus Bisram case and other high murder cases are being covered up in Berbice. He has been placed in a key position, newly created in 2015, to bring the government closer to the people. Since then, he seems to be everywhere. However, we come back to Mr Harbhajan.
The Alliance For Change (AFC), his party, is at a crossroad now. It gained popularity in the 2011 elections and was widely seen as the third force change that can hold the balance.
The popularity rise continued to 2015 where with the support of angry farmers and a disillusioned populace, the incumbent People’s Progressive Party/Civic was swept aside.
It was not a surprise. The PPP/C had lost touch with the people. The ministers were arrogant.
People will tell you stories about the Ministry of Housing and the nightmares, plain indifference from staffers and regional chairpersons who were kings within their lands.
For more than a year, the honeymoon continued with the Coalition Government especially with the announcement of a huge oil find.
Today, we have a party that has done poorly at local government elections and whose ministers are charged with key ministries. We can talk about agriculture and say that save for rice, we appear to be sailing. The Ministry of Public Infrastructure would have been lauded for some work done but the shadow of corruption has followed it around.
The AFC have not really connected to the people. I dare say they got caught up in the bureaucracy of the office. It would, perhaps, be the greatest failings of the AFC over the last three years. They should have visited their supporters a little more.
Counter to that is the fact that the Opposition, an old head at the game, has not given the Coalition Government a chance. From supposed corruption, to GPL suspiciously going down so often, the challenges have been uphill. So we come to that no-confidence vote of December 21st.
The AFC failed to arrest the situation and apparently knew something was going down.
It has itself to blame for doing little or nothing. One may argue now that there is little likelihood of a third force before elections which could be this year, depending on what the Caribbean Court of Justice decides.
The ball therefore is in the AFC court. It received an excellent deal with key ministries under the power share agreement with the A Partnership For National Unity.
This weekend, a key vote will be conducted for the Leader, Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, General Secretary and 12 Executive Members. There will be close attention being paid to the optics.
Does AFC want to portray the same sorry lineup or does it attempt to play the card where it tells the populace that it is a party that is willing to adapt.
The debate of Gobin Harbhajan, as alluded to in a recent letter to the editor, is not about Gobin Harbhajan, I humbly submit. It is a about a party that can rise above the crowd and show that it is willing to adapt. That it can allow youngsters like Harbhajan to make a contribution.
The People’s Progressive Party is champing at the bit and would under value people like Harbhajan and the McAllisters and the Burkes and the Benschops.
These are people who understand how to connect to the people.
So yes, Editor, the AFC can be wise or they won’t see the forest for the trees.
The next elections would not be for play.
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