The street lingo refers to an important document as “papel.” If a man says that he has qualifications to do technical infrastructural work and he is not getting governmental contracts, his friends would say, “de maan know he stuff, he gat papel fuh prove it.”
The most talked about piece of papel these days is the Cummingsburg Accord (AC). It is a binding covenant between APNU and the AFC on power-sharing. The CA is in the air because Khemraj Ramjattan and Moses Nagamootoo are in a big tussle to clinch the PM slot for the upcoming national poll.
It appears that Nagamootoo is the preferred one for the PNC. Joe Harmon referred to Nagamootoo as royalty at a rally in Bartica last month. This perhaps was in reference to the announcement by the AFC that it has papel to show that the AFC’s must choose the PM slot. That papel was cited by General-Secretary of the AFC, David Patterson, when he publicly proclaimed that it is not who APNU wants because the CA allows the AFC to provide the PM candidate.
Papel is really in the news because both APNU and AFC announced that the CA will be renegotiated for the 2019 election. Whatever is taken out, whatever remains and whatever new is added in the CA, the fact is papel exists between the APNU and AFC and that papel guides the coalition arrangement.
Last week the WPA announced that its role in the APNU conglomeration will not take the passive form it took from 2015. It says it will push for inclusion of its agenda and ideas if the APNU wins again.
“We certainly are not going to engage in the same way as we engaged the first time around,” David Hinds told the press. While the actual words were not used, the WPA personnel at the table meant that it will not be business as usual. But where is papel? Where is the WPA-PNC version of the APNU –AFC written covenant?
Any school boy would tell the WPA that as a separate entity joining with other organizations to win the government, you have to secure a legal arrangement with the other contestants. If there is no such arrangement then there must be papel the contents of which outline what each unit wants to see the government implements.
In the absence of papel, how does the WPA hope to secure the implementation of its agenda? One party can claim it never agreed to this or that policy but merely showed an interest in the idea. If the other party says that is untruthful then it ends up with endless disagreement over the spoken word.
So will the WPA compose a version of the CA? Whatever it composes it has to produce a document on which is outlined an agreement on policy-making. There is nothing complex about this. Once the WPA sits down to writing its positions before the election, then the bargaining begins. When the give and take is complete, you have papel.
The WPA is either making itself a clown or is being duplicitous if between now and the December poll, it does not produce a mini version of the CA. The WPA is in a stronger position to bargain with the PNC more than the AFC in 2019.
The 2011 GECOM station by station results showed that the AFC picked up significant ballots in Indian districts particularly in Berbice. The 2015 GECOM release has no showing for the AFC because the AFC did not contest on its own. But the analyst has to do logical deduction.
On looking at the GECOM release for 2015, I deduced that the votes that APNU+AFC got in heavily populated Indian areas came because of the AFC and not APNU. There was a marked decrease in votes for the APNU+AFC in those parts of Guyana as compared to 2011.
My assumption is that Indian votes were lost to the AFC in 2015. The PPP received more votes in the home villages of Nagamootoo and Ramjattan in 2015 than APNU+AFC. This erasure continued in the 2018 local government election in which the PPP won again in the hometown of Nagamootoo and Ramjattan.
The AFC can hardly bring anything to the APNU table in 2019. If there is a reshaped CA and it has delineations of areas of power for AFC, then why should the WPA not produce papel to secure areas of power because the PNC needs the WPA more than AFC. The WPA is now an African based entity and it is talking to African Guyanese. The PNC needs that kind of activism if it is to win the election.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper)
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