In conversations with Guyanese voters, the ringing refrain by well-intentioned Indo Guyanese and Afro Guyanese who seek to justify supporting the party of their ethnicity is that their party is ‘the lesser of two evils’.
In the Sunday 10th November, 2019 edition of the Kaieteur News under the caption ‘Emptiness and Nothingness’, political commentator David Hinds bemoans the undeniable truth that Guyana has not since independence ‘been able to throw up government leaders with the capacity… to transform the society….’ He correctly blames ‘lack of visionary leadership,’ and complains that he is yet to hear any inspiring vision for change from the PPP, or APNU government (which he calls a Coalition), or the small parties.
But he still somehow manages to conclude that APNU should get his support; after all, they are the ‘lesser of two evils’.
Hinds rationalizes his own conclusion by arguing that the old PNC hardliners are now gone, so that APNU is no longer ‘vicious’, whereas the ‘gangsters’ in the PPP are still much in evidence. He therefore cannot vote PPP because he fears the combination of lack of vision and viciousness. I agree.
But Hinds must be blind to suggest that the PPP is ‘vicious’, but APNU is not. When Indo Guyanese PPP loyalists were brought before the Courts on corruption charges, that may have been justified. The justification wore thin in the absence of a single conviction. Certainly, there was no justification for shackling and handcuffing non-violent defendants who had voluntarily submitted to police custody, just so that they could be paraded as a spectacle of humiliation for the enjoyment of the triumphal party loyalists. That was vicious. The removal of Hinds himself from the Chronicle was vicious. The termination of the employment of the sugar workers with no relief was vicious. Making them wait even for the severance pay which was their lawful entitlement was vicious. To belligerently proclaim that only ‘our people’ can get jobs or contracts is vicious. Removing advertisements from Stabroek News is vicious. The ethnic cleansing of the public service was vicious.
Victimization is alive and well, and the present regime is equally as harmful as the previous. They are both evil.
But to debate the degrees of evil, to discuss which party is the ‘lesser’ or ‘greater’ evil in order to justify your support of one of the Harmful Two is to hide from your conscience, because if the two large parties are both harmful, vicious, bereft of ideas to properly manage our country, then no voter should support either of them.
This is why a third party is necessary: in our winner take all system, if the Two Parties are the only options on election day, then the winner will also enjoy a majority in Parliament, and Guyana will suffer yet another elected dictatorship.
To use Hinds’ words, whichever of the Harmful Two Parties ‘wins in March, the government will be a runaway train with no checks and balances. The oil and gas wealth will be fuel for that train’.
Our only hope is for the Third Party to win enough support to ensure that the party in Government does not also have a majority in Parliament. An independent Parliament to rein in whichever of the Harmful Two is in Government is Guyana’s only hope.
A New and United Guyana have stated that if we hold that balance, we will not support any Parliamentary proposal for support that does not include a Shared Governance regime that involves the other large party. This will mean that the governing party will be forced to work with the other large party in Parliament – the beginning of inclusivity in the management of the country.
A New and United Guyana have also stated that if we hold the balance in Parliament, we will immediately put forward our proposals for Constitutional reform to provide for shared governance. If Government does not support our proposals for Constitutional reform, we will not support the Government in Parliament. That is the second step for inclusivity in the management of the country.
Finally, A New and United Guyana has stated that it will, with the cooperation of the Opposition in Parliament (whichever party is in opposition) propose and pass amendments to existing legislation which remove sole control of State agencies and corporations from the Government and its Ministers, and place that control under Boards and Commissions comprising members of the Government, the Opposition and the Third Party, so that there is true inclusivity and shared governance in the decision making by those agencies and corporations. This is the third step for inclusivity in the management of the country.
We propose that these steps will leverage the participation of the Government (whichever party is in Government) in a constitutional reform process. Over the coming months until elections are held, we will give specific examples of the changes which can be made by a majority opposition in Parliament, and how those changes can reduce corruption, create inclusivity, and introduce transparency and good governance in Guyana.
A New and United Guyana
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