Kaieteur News – Prior to the 2015 election, no one in and out of Guyana believed that the WPA would have state power. People felt its reign in the 1970s was in the distant past and it would remain a tiny wilderness voice. No one believed that the AFC would win the government because it needed more years to firmly challenge the PPP and PNC.
The defeat of the PPP in 2015 brought enormous state power to the WPA and AFC. Three highly educated WPA persons with enormous experience in WPA’s activism gained powerful position in the state – Drs. Rupert Roopnaraine, Clive Thomas and Maurice Odle. The AFC almost secured half of the government.
Since the APNU+AFC lost the government in 2020, the permanent description of the role of the PPP and the PNC in exacerbating ethnic tensions and their hogging of power have continued relentlessly. One can cite so many instances. From the academic side, there were letters in the press from Drs. Alissa Trotz, Arif Bulkan and Omar McDoom all lamenting the continuing zero-sum struggle between the PNC and PPP.
There was no mention of the WPA and AFC after 2015. There was a subsequent editorial in the Stabroek News that rehashed the lamentation of the harsh battle between the PNC and PPP. There was no discussion of the important access to power by the WPA and AFC.
Raphael Trotman published a letter in the press which was a researcher’s goldmine. He explained that whenever the PPP is in government, Africans feel left out. Whenever the PNC is in office, Indians do not feel comfortable. Trotman did not explain what his multi-racial outfit did with the state power they had for five years.
One of the founders of a group named Overseas Associates of the WPA, Rohit Kanhai, published a long letter last month decrying the continuation of the division of Guyanese that the politics of the PPP and PNC bring. Mr. Kanhai completely left out the role of the WPA in office for five years.
In June last year, when the APNU+AFC was about to lose the election, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine spoke of the need for healing of the Guyanese people. But there was no mention of what he and the WPA did in this context when they were in power. Last week, a paper was published by two academics from the University of the West Indies (UWI) on the election fiasco last year and they made reference to the ethnic fault lines in Guyana.
The academics referred to Guyana as a “bipolar ethnic state.” The editorial of the Stabroek News and of Mr. Ralph Ramkarran in his column analysed the adumbrations of these two UWI scholars repeating the theme of PNC versus PPP. This column is yet another attempt to introduce a new paradigm in understanding the politics of ethnic strain and the role of political parties in expanding the stress level.
For those who missed my previous elaborations here they are.
1 – Wednesday, July 22, 2020, “Dr. Mc Doom’s pair of red underwear has lost its brightness and shape.”
2 – Sunday, October 4, 2020, “Dialectics in Guyana’s politics: An alternative theory.”
3 – Tuesday, July 14, 2020, “In the diaspora, in Plato’s cave.”
4 – July 28, 2020, “Trotz, De Souza and rigging: The imprisoned Freudian mind.”
5 – Monday, December 14, 2020, “The sickening admission/confession of Raphael Trotman.”
In all five pieces I have argued that, in further polemical outlays and debating forums on the shape of ethnic rivalry and party ubiquity, research emphasis has to be placed on the failed insertion of the WPA and AFC into power. A scholar cannot continue on the mundane level of emphasising what the PPP and PNC have done without an examination as to why the WPA and AFC did not intervene at a critical stage in the attempt to reshape the narrative and reconfigure how power is exercised and distributed.
Even if McDoom, Bulkan, Trotz, Ramkarran and the Stabroek News, by mistake, failed to grasp the disturbing aberrations of the AFC and WPA when they were in power, other scholars need to fill-in the gap. Kanhai, Trotman and Roopnaraine for reasons of party loyalty, when they write, do not want to assign an egregious presence to the WPA and AFC when those parties lived in the corridors of power. This is my sixth advocacy in which I am arguing that after the iconic WPA of the seventies got power in 2015and after the popular AFC secured state power in 2015, they were expected by Guyanese, even those with a passing familiarity with Guyana, to attempt to dilute ethnic tensions and the winner-take all mentality. They didn’t. Why?
(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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