After careful evaluation of its first term in office, the WPA has concluded that the government’s performance has been mixed. The enormous challenges it inherited in 2015 and the fact it has not been in office long enough are factors that must be taken into consideration in any serious assessment of the Coalition’s tenure. However, WPA feels that there have been mistakes, some of which could have been avoided. These have contributed, in no small way, to a weakening of the government and to the emergence of some degree of alienation among its support base.
First, at the policy level, the government has failed to satisfactorily tackle some of the structural problems that negatively affect the poor and the powerless in the society. Second, we believe that the government’s political strategies and tactics have allowed room for a resurgence of the PPP as a viable competitor for office at the coming election. Third, the lack of ongoing contact with its support base has been an error that should have been avoided. Fourth, the decision not to pursue some of its crucial campaign promises has raised doubts about the Coalition’s ability to keep promises to voters.
Fifth, the WPA is dissatisfied with the overall management of the coalition, which we feel has contributed greatly to the outcomes cited above. The stubborn refusal to meaningfully engage Coalition partners in decision-making has been the root cause of the government’s less than adequate performance. Maximum leadership and the limiting of decision making to one organ are inconsistent with the principles of coalition politics.
Despite those mistakes, the WPA feels that the government has done enough to warrant a second term. We have identified some important areas of democratic governance and management of the political economy that are comforting and have led to a strengthening of the country as a whole. WPA is convinced that a multi-party government is a superior option for management of the coming oil and gas economy than a one-party government. The Coalition is in theory if not in practice one step closer to the desired Government of National Unity. Towards this end, WPA views the Coalition as the political force that offers the better chance for the realization of our party’s vision for Guyana’s development and for true liberation from the clutches of underdevelopment.
In light of the above, the WPA formally announces its decision to contest the election as part of the APNU+AFC Coalition. It is a decision that took into consideration the wishes of the majority of our members and supporters and the overarching needs of the country at this historical juncture. WPA intends to be more proactive in and out of government should the Coalition win. We intend to continue to balance our independence and traditional political values with our responsibility as part of a plural government. The party has already signed on to the Coalition’s Core Principles, but given our experiences during the first term, WPA has decided to request alterations to its formal engagement within a Coalition government.
It is against this background that the WPA has launched its election campaign. While the party would play its full role in the Coalition’s campaign, we feel that a supplementary campaign by the WPA is necessary. This decision was influenced by feedback we have been receiving from the Coalition’s constituents and beyond that suggests that the WPA’s particular political brand is needed on the ground in the communities. So, in the last four weeks the party has held ten community meetings on the Demerara Coast and Linden aimed at connecting to alienated constituents. The outcomes of these meetings have confirmed the correctness of our initiative–there have been some interesting revelations.
WPA welcomes the High Court’s ruling that the current House to House registration is constitutional and lawful. Even as we note concerns in some quarters about aspects of the ruling, WPA urges all parties and organizations to respect the court’s conclusions on the major issues—the House to House Registration and the setting of an election date.
The WPA has always felt that this recent move to the court was nothing short of “legal and constitutional gymnastics” aimed at the larger PPP agenda of frustrating credible elections. The CCJ’s ruling and orders were very clear. The court does not have the constitutional right to interfere with the process by which an election date is determined–that is a matter for the president in consultation with GECOM. We salute the court for not tampering with the CCJ’s ruling.
This ruling is hopefully the final blow against the PPP’s effort to get the court to become unnecessarily entangled in the country’s politics. We urge GECOM to deliberate on the court’s recommendations and proceed with the preparation for elections in a timely manner. WPA again wishes to congratulate GECOM for not bowing to pressure and for keeping the HtH registration timeline within the ambit of the constitution and CCJ’s guideline.
Finally, the WPA calls on the PPP to acknowledge that the game is over that its attempt at railroading the judicial process has been defeated. It must now return to parliament to facilitate the desired extension of the life of the government. Refusal to do so, would further tarnish that party’s image and render it unfit to lead Guyana. We also urge the PPP’s enablers in the Private Sector Commission and other Civil Society organizations to recognize that the tide has swung against them and turn a new page for the sake of national harmony .Guyanese should become tired of the PPP’s delaying tactics.
WPA Executive Member
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