The prognosis for Guyana’s political situation is a grim one. The PPP/C, since taking office has shown no intention of governing differently – they have returned to the same cronyism, corrupt politicking that saw them deposed in 2015.
They are able to act this way with impunity because of the lack of a credible opposition. The opposition could perhaps attempt a motion of no confidence, but the current parliament has been stuffed full of sycophants and party hacks.
In a better country, support for the APNU+AFC coalition would vanish, and at the next election, some new force might emerge to challenge the prevailing order. Alas, we live in Guyana, where supporters of the Coalition pathetically cling to the lie that they are the victims of an international conspiracy.
Just as PNC supporters remained loyal in 1992, the Coalition’s will put party and power above country and vote for whoever they originally supported in that uneasy alliance.
They, however, have lost the support of principled voters who wanted a change after more than two decades of PPP rule – a rule, let me remind that party’s supporters, that included discrimination, death squads, the prorogation of parliament and misappropriation of state assets on an unimaginable scale.
I think we can rule out the return of death squads and prorogation – these were responses to particular political circumstances – but misappropriation has already begun.
The government will no doubt say that it does not discriminate, certainly not on the basis of race, and many Guyanese – supporters of both parties – may feel that in an ethnically polarised society a party should look out for its own. But remember when you favour one race you necessarily disadvantage all others.
The end result of this will be another generation of ethnic strife and ethnic insecurity. As the excesses of the PPP/C get worse, their supporters will seem more and more disagreeable to their fellow Guyanese. In the past, this might have led to the emergence of another third force, to follow the same ruinous path of the United Force and AFC.
I fear, however, that this shall not come to pass. Our present era has provided politicians with tools of mass disinformation that the dictators of last century could only dream of. The PPP/C and APNU+AFC have both shown themselves willing to utilise social media to spread agitprop.
People treat these parties as dinosaurs, but they have moved with the times. We have all heard of phantom bloggers, influencers who make no secret of being party hacks, and social media echo chambers. For all the clamour about civil society, this first half of the 21st century will, I feel, be a golden age for large political parties.
I would love to offer a cure-all for these problems, but I’m afraid I am just a columnist without the slightest power to influence politics or politicians. They say a deaf ear is a politician’s greatest asset. In truth, I see no solutions to these problems. They stem not just from a corrupt political culture but also from a society that is simultaneously inward looking and profoundly and fundamentally divided – a society where groups occupy the same spaces but live in separate worlds. Change is needed not just at the top but at the bottom. We need to reach out to our fellow citizens and seal the cracks in our society. And institutions like the press must hold the government to account for every bit of malfeasance.
Stop getting your news from social media, from hacks and provocateurs. If you continue to feed the 24-hour news cycle, it will eventually devour you. Buy a newspaper, hopefully this one, and support the free press. If there is wrongdoing at your office and you can do so without sure reprisal, get in touch with a reporter.
People harp on about supporting civil society, but when they say ‘civil society’ they mean ‘me and my private organisation’. The press, the fourth estate, is the backbone of civil society.
I won’t mince words, though. I doubt anything will come of this. I am deeply pessimistic about this country’s future. Inevitably those with the capacity to bring about change will either turn to corruption or leave for greener pastures abroad. Those who return do so to milk the country for its last few dregs. Who can blame them – they are looking out for themselves. I can only urge those who remain to selflessly work for the betterment of the nation.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
Jan 16, 2022Kaieteur News – By Zaheer Mohamed Vicky Ostwal and Raj Bawa produced excellent spells and a superb knock from skipper Yash Dhull handed India U19 a 54-run win over South Africa U19 when the ICC...
Jan 16, 2022
Jan 16, 2022
Jan 16, 2022
Jan 16, 2022
Jan 16, 2022
Kaieteur News – Please read and reflect on the following words of Khemraj Ramjattan in a television interview: “What... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – By 2030, it is more than likely that the eight independent Commonwealth Caribbean... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]