I have lived my entire life in this country. I studied abroad and worked for a few months as an advisor to the Foreign Affairs Minister of the Bishop Government in Grenada. I saw that as Caribbean solidarity. I will do it again within Caricom, because I am passionate about Caribbean integration. Except for those two circumstances, I have lived consistently in Guyana. I have been engaged in political activism since age sixteen.
I pick up the vibes, feelings, thinking, desires and fulminations from the Guyanese people all the time. I am never out of Guyana, so I mingle with the people of Guyana all the time. The last time I left Guyana was in 2000 for eye surgery in Trinidad. I don’t like to travel. Mr. Glenn Lall extends his requests, but he knows that I am not the travelling kind.
The expressions here are fact-based. If people choose to deny them, accuse me of amplification or outright fiction, I will not be moved for a fleeting second, because I believe in me, and what I will write below is what I have felt living among the Guyanese people.
I do believe of all the parties that have been part of the government of Guyana, none has been so despicably condemned by its former voters like the Alliance For Change (AFC) since 2015.
There have been five parties of some substance that have been part of the power establishment – PPP, PNC, The United Force, AFC, WPA. I have omitted the Civic Component of successive post-1992 PPP administrations. There was no such entity. In an interview, Dr. Henry Jeffrey admitted to that. I have omitted the tiny parties of APNU, whose names no one in Guyana can recall.
When the PNC pushed out the United Force after the 1968 elections, the Portuguese business class migrated. Their party had served their interests. Their party had lost power and the Portuguese lost interest in politics. Their leader, Banks DIH tycoon, Peter D’Aguiar remained their hero. The continuous thread running through the history of this nation is the animosity Indian people view the PNC with and the deep distrust African Guyanese have of the PPP.
But this attitude has to be contextualized. And there are many contexts. The first is ethnicity. Indians fear race domination by the PNC. Black Guyanese fear Indian domination by the PPP. The second context is the psychological matrix. Indians do not hate PNC leaders. African Guyanese do not despise PPP leaders. They simply do not want them to control the government. And when they are in power, they expect no generosity and they resign.
The third context is the beneficiary syndrome. Indians and Africans have no implacable emotional hate of PNC and PPP leaders. They have come to accept that whichever party is in power, the perks will go to their constituencies. They have accepted that as reality.
Indians are not deeply resentful of Hoyte and Granger. Except for Jagdeo, Black people found PPP leaders to be open and friendly politicians they can reason with. The bottom line is that Indians do not want the PNC in government. African Guyanese do not trust the PPP. There is simply no hatred among the other side for the leaders on the opposite pole.
My life in Guyana shows me a different canvas in relation to the AFC. All the surveys and polls that I have done, take the form of my interactions with people who had high hopes for the AFC since 2006, and embraced them as the party that would transform Guyana. In all these interactions, without exception, there is a deep-seated hatred for the AFC hierarchy. It has an explanation in psychology.
The PPP never promised Africans the moon and sun and if they did, they never believed them for a second. The PNC never sought to endear itself to Indians, and Indians never expected anything from them. Unlike all the parties since 1964 that went into government, the AFC comes across to the people who voted for them as deceitful politicians who invented a plan to fool them and never attempted to implement what they promised their voters.
Here is the huge psychological difference in Indians and African voters who balloted for the PPP and PNC. Substantial numbers in the Indian and African communities believe their respective parties have their interests at heart, even though there are times the leaders appear uncaring and insensitive. Not so with the AFC. People hate them for what they believe is their deliberate abandonment of what they promised to do, some of which were very sacred – erasing ethnic suspicion, democratization through constitutional change to dilute winner- take-all politics. More later!
(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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