Two ugly developments have taken place on the same day that will not engender optimism on the part of the PPP leadership in the dialogue on inclusive governance. On the contrary, the atmosphere will be poisoned leading to the deepening of rancor.
It is a harsh reality that in any confabulation on national reconciliation, the central players must be negotiators whose personalities don’t have to be saccharine but must be perceived as people who are pleasant. When the Good Friday Agreement was being discussed, the political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) made sure it did not send negotiators that were perceived by the other side as IRA bad boys from the past.
When the APNU+AFC regime sought to engage the opposition PPP in discussion with the Carter Center in July 2018, it selected the then PM, Moses Nagamootoo, to lead its team. The PPP rejected him instantly. Jagdeo told Jimmy Carter that Nagamootoo was not a substantial player in the government. See my column of Monday, July 23, 2018, “Jagdeo says Moses is a messenger.”
All the major international stakeholders who secured the legal results of the 2020 national elections have advised the PPP government that it has to seek national reconciliation. While it is not practical for the PPP to decide who must be in the opposition PNC delegation, it is realistic to expect the PPP team to reject persons in the PNC’s leadership that were involved in five months of depraved display of election rigging in which civilities, moralities and civilized conduct were thrown out the window.
On Sunday, August 9, the executive committee of the PNC elevated Simona Broomes to its inner leadership circle. On that same day, the AFC assigned Sherod Duncan parliamentary status, meaning that he was selected to be an MP. Both personalities, whose political deportment does not encourage the creation of a meeting of opposing minds, should have no place in the shaping of a new political culture. Duncan and Broomes are bad news for national reconciliation.
I saw Broomes in a video claiming that the PPP sent two men to intimidate and harm her. Nothing in the video substantiated her claim. In that very video she used language that was extremely inciting for which she should have been charged by the police. Guyana should be lucky that PNC supporters in Sophia ignored her.
A research into the Facebook postings of Sherod Duncan from March 4 when Mingo chose to introduce the dirtiest form of rigging to the August conclusion of the saga, would reveal Duncan was inciting people, something for which he too should be charged. Duncan hosted a scurrilous Facebook programme with Christopher Jones that took us down memory lane to the dangerous times of the House of Israel attacks against this nation.
The APNU+AFC cannot hope to begin a confabulation on national reconciliation when it packs its leadership with people who are not only unacceptable but have no place in modern Guyanese discourse. Of course there is a reason for having bad boys in your midst to do dirty work for you, but don’t ask the society to accept you as an honest patriot.
In the case of Duncan’s elevation to parliament, the situation is frightening. Because of the COVID-19 restriction, the national executive of the AFC could not meet but each member was asked to offer his/her list of persons to go to parliament. When the 33 lists were tabulated by computerization, Duncan lost out in terms of making the final nine.
Despite his loss, three of the permanent leaders of the AFC overrode the democratic decision of its national executive and selected Duncan for parliament. These are the very people who have called on President Irfaan Ali to reach out in the pursuit of inclusive governance.
Can you dialogue with an opposition entity that has in its midst politicians who are forever inclined to commit mischief and continue to undertake action that makes reaching out impossible? I did say on Kaieteur Radio that given what happened over the past five months, there will not be immediate emotional tolerance from the PPP in sitting down with people who almost destroyed Guyana.
What political virtues Broomes and Duncan possess that will enhance the damaged credibility of the PNC and AFC? On the contrary, if you want to see the PNC and AFC recover from its devastation of the past five months, then, you look for names and faces that will foster an ambience of receptivity. When you hear that Broomes is now in the PNC’s leadership and that the AFC has selected Duncan for parliament, then you know the PNC and AFC aren’t ready yet.
(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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