Sep 21, 2020 Letters
Admittedly, I have had my doubts, but I am now convinced that the PPP under President Irfaan Ali is taking Guyana to a place where every Guyanese will be able to enjoy a good life. The new President has clearly started off on the ‘right foot’; an encouraging sign to those who were worried that the PPP might resort to the policies of the Ramotar administration. President Ali has shown that his administration is different, and I believe that he deserves the support of every Guyanese, irrespective of their ethnicity or party affiliation.
Perhaps the most significant sign that President Ali is serious about Guyana’s development is his decision to embrace a strategic alliance with the United States. This is a historic moment in our history, as it marks the first time ever that Guyana’s strategic national interests are correctly aligned with those of the West. For this reason, those who have opposed the PPP in the past because of that party’s Marxist posture now have no justification for withholding support for President Ali and his administration. This should result in the attrition of many PNC supporters whose support of that party was based on the premise that the PNC is the ‘lesser of the two evils’; that is that the PNC is ‘less left’ than the two leftist parties in Guyana. Now, with the PPP clearly a pro-west party, Guyanese are given two distinct political choices.
The actions of the Granger administration showed that the PNC remains a leftist party; one that believes in high taxes and restrictive business policies. The new PPP administration on the other hand has so far shown that it is a more business-friendly, low tax party. These differences present clear distinctions between the two major political forces in Guyana; a tax-and-spend socialist PNC, or a pro-west, market oriented, low-tax PPP party.
By shifting its posture, the PPP may have found that magic bullet so desperately needed to kill the pattern of race-based politics in Guyana. Faced with two distinctly different political choices – a market-oriented/pro-west PPP or a leftist/pro-China PNC, Guyanese voters will have something other than race on which to base their decision of which party to support. Those who believe in a market-based economy and low taxes would likely support the PPP, while those who prefer socialist tax-and-spend policies will more likely support the PNC. These clear political policy differences remove race as the only differences between the two political choices.
The PPP must be careful that it does not squander this moment to kill our race-based politics. It must remain open to welcome the support of those former PNC supporters who now see their political beliefs more closely aligned with those of the new PPP. Guyana is therefore at a crossroad; it can move beyond ethnic-based politics to a new place where Guyanese can now support a political party based on policies or ideological beliefs.
Time will tell if this is indeed a watershed moment in Guyana’s history. I hope that it is, and I wish President Ali every success as he endeavours to steer Guyana in the right direction.
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