CAMPAIGN MESSAGING

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In character, it is said, President Granger, in kingly fashion, dispatched letters to a handpicked group of men, inviting them, no less, to be part of his preparation for a second term in office… partially derailed through a Vote of No Confidence, successfully engineered by the Opposition while the government, enamored with the trappings of leadership, stood steadfastly in front of its political mirror.

The whole idea of an invitation to campaign speaks to the aloofness that remains the principal complaint against the President, enabled by a complement of men who nod perpetually in the affirmative…without offering practical alternatives to practices that are passé.

Thing is, the bulk of those men are passé, too and we have nothing against aging but are practical enough to know that a country in which the median
age (half younger and half older) is 26.23, an array of men – when there are as many women hovering in the septuagenarian vicinity, is hardly appealing to a generation attracted to click bait and emoji’s to motivate.

We’ll never discount what maturing in a profession can contribute to its furtherance but we’re absolutely positive flipping through the pages of the Congress Binder from 70 – something will bring nothing to the table.

After recovering from the foppishness of the idea of issuing formal invitations to campaign, which is a structured undertaking to influence the voting decisions of the electorate, the reality of the incredible arrogance that shrouds this Administration sets in, though the magnitude of the ineffectiveness of the effort is disheartening.

The 2015 Election, a gift from the Political Gods, proved to be a trying one for those citizens looking for more than the traditional partisan and racial alignment. Outside of the Pavlovian Voters – those who respond by reflex to race and party – were those seeking integrity and fidelity -neither of which was practiced in the preceding 23 years.

Deficiencies stood where principles should have at the battle line that separated the 2 behemoths. And the voters, just rescued by the Prorogation Fairy from the extended damnation of PPP oversight, swung to the Coalition…some say otherwise but the Coalition was elected and from a pool that expanded beyond base…albeit narrowly.

Now they’re back at the battle lines again, prematurely and with the same candidates presenting the same combination of administrative insufficiency and high handedness. This time, voters are trapped between the two Parties with the highest record of unfavorables and the fledgling formations of political fragments, bringing nothing more to the table than the politics they broke off from.

And with his Party being forced to this precipice of voting dangerously, at this point of their socio political peril, the President has decided to demonstrate his majesty by sending out gilded invitations adorned with the Presidential letterhead to join him in a campaign that now sounds, paradoxically, like a silent auction for pre-determined buyers.

Except for the sudden promise of street lights in New Amsterdam, the efforts to make running water functional in some regions and a bridge in Wakapoa– amongst a few other rudimentary improvements -the pace of campaigning is more of a stroll than a sprint on a “promises kept” agenda.

What more can cause alarm, we’re wondering, only to be told that the Campaign is being managed by the President himself, who “likes to get involved in everything and at every level”…the working definition of micromanaging, the unfortunate opportunity cost of which is the promised Quarterly Meetings: Manifesto’s Strategic Planning, bottom of page 12  item 4 which promised: Ministers will submit quarterly reports to the head of Govt.

If any of these were conducted and shared with the public as promised…please correct us. As far as we know, though, this was not a “promise kept”.

Frustrated that, at this late hour, the focus remains on the sharp end of minutiae.

But then it sounds like one long run -on from an Administration that ignored the important issues, like reforming the Constitution that Jagdeo rebuilt in favor of his Racial and Partisan ideals – to fret over details, like people daring to address the President by the permanent name on his birth certificate and not the title he holds in temporary employment of the people.

We’re told he has quite a conniption over this lack of homage to the perpetual use of ‘Your Excellency’.

The lack of Constitution reform left many vulnerabilities open, not the least of which is the Amerindian vote.

Courting this population has been the politicians’ trek to Indigenous Mecca since before Independence and was subsequently settled in Guyana’s Independence Agreement with a settlement on Amerindian Land Rights. The Amerindian Land Commission was formed under the leadership of Forbes Burnham in 1966 and by 1969 it recommended that 24000 square miles of Guyana be allotted to Guyana’s indigenous inhabitants.

In 1993, Cheddi Jagan sought to compete, posthumously, with Forbes Burnham by declaring Stephen Campbell a National Hero  and formed a first of its kind Ministry of Amerindian Affairs to which he appointed Vibert De Souza. He then declared, in 1995, September as Amerindian Month.

The effort to attract the Amerindian vote was unvarnished.

Then came Jagdeo and he decided he would one-up everybody.

His attempt to lay proprietary rights on this voting bloc enshrined
their national recognition by GUYANA ACT No. 6 of 2001 CONSTITUTION
(AMENDMENT)
 
(No. 4) ACT 2001.

THE  CONSTITUTION!!!!

He repealed and re-enacted the Preamble of the Constitution with:

“We the Guyanese People Value the special place in our nation of the Indigenous Peoples and recognise their right as citizens to land and security and to their promulgation of policies for their communities…” 

in flagrant misuse of the Nation’s Constitution and deliberate defacing of its National Motto.

This is part of the Constitution Reform that was neglected by this Government – that ran so boisterously on Constitution Reform.

That, notwithstanding, we will see all Political Parties taking their
veneered overtures to the various Amerindian enclaves which are not shy about leveraging the perceived power of their contribution, during the voting cycle.

This will include the fledgling formations, like the Party of the Toshao, or
former,
Shuman, who seems to be heading to the Polls as a Canadian and will revert to Guyanese only after election results have been certified.

Touché…all part of ruling instead of governing.

Indeed, every vote counts but the pandering Parties have traditionally shown to this bloc is an insult to other voters who cast their vote without the expectation of One Pound of Flesh.

If we sound disgusted we are and exponentially…and we’re not even part of
the invited team of strategists with whom we can empathize.

Word is, frustration amongst them is palpable mostly because there is more
oversight than there is matter to be overseen. The knowledgeable on the team are extendedly perplexed and are sure that the appearance of a low key operation is not a tactical imperative.

There is question as to whether there is tactic at all, as the campaign remains  very base -centric, leaving possible swing voters with questions about “tekkin another chance” with this Group.

And if the campaign is for the people, they don’t know it. The average voter is unaware of it…except subliminally by the sudden upsurge of Municipal attention.

Subliminal is not for Politics. Political messaging is loud, assertive, impressive, impenetrable.

And in the absence of that, the political slugs slither in.

That’s exactly what has happened. 

Coalition Messaging has become the surrogate operation of freelancers that have filled that space with an utter lack of squeamishness about going into the gutter and dragging the PNCR with it, in the absence of any denunciation or condemnation of the crass narrative and demeaning sloganeering that is the signature of the unprofessionals whose creative stricture disqualifies them from being within the vicinity of any form of messaging at all.

Theirs is a coarse cocktail of lack of pedigree with the infusion of personal berration.

And this plays right into the hand of the Opposition which has masked its
lack of substance through saturating media platforms with hodge podge
literature, streamed meetings and flagrant, flat out lies, repeated with
nauseating frequency. They have commandeered the use of Propaganda by an indoctrination technique referred to as Firehosing…which obliterates
anything that is not as robust.

The situation screams for rescue.

There’s no suggestion that Coalition Campaigning must be especially frenzied but the political landscape has been interrupted by the rise of several parties which now forces the Coalition to promote a more assertive news cycle to arm the voter with reasons why it should be returned to Office.

An informal query of the man in the street couldn’t tell who is heading the Coalition Ticket or why the Coalition would be the best choice.

Except for the few and far appearances with message-less rhetoric, the much -vaunted incumbent President remains frozen in pre-eminence, allowing less-liked, more abrasive, personnel to be the face of what messaging should be relaying.

And for those who faint on cue at perceived disrespect, this is mere candor.

General sentiment is appreciation that the President remains the current face of the Party, in spite of his health and that he is a veritable Moses for this leg of the journey to the Promised Land. It would be good for a likeable back -up to do the longer portion of his rallies, they say.

Understood.

These rallies…old style, tired, self-deceiving, clumsy exercises in gift -giving and hollow pledges and promises… remain the product of past glories.

No one offers anything new because no government makes the changes it promises to make.

So, every General Election cycle sees a flurry of improvement in services
providing the bare essentials of civilized living with an Opposition that offers to do better.

The Politicians wink, the people smile and they both head to the polls sure of one thing- that they’ll be pulling the same stunt five years later…if there’s no Prorogation or Vote of No Confidence- which would mean the recycling would just be coming a lil earlier.

To win, the Coalition , as the incumbent, has to do more than the traditional
repairs.  

The rudimentary infra structure may be tactical but it is not strategic.

Messaging is a forensic strategy. And forensics are precise. 

And sometimes we have to back in to precision.

Given what the PPP was, how the Coalition has disappointed and the insidious path Jagdeo has selected to –re-ascend to power, the only thing voters need to know is that Jagdeo and his Party, more than any other, have a history of disrespecting law and order.

The voters need to know that the 1997 elections, in which Janet Jagan
declared herself President by throwing over her shoulder the order from Justice Desiree Bernard that barred her from that office, was subsequently declared NULL and VOID by Justice Claudette Singh in 2001, who cited missing ballots and poll station violations amongst a series of Election Day improprieties, in her declaration.

The voters need to know that the appointment of Bharat Jagdeo in 1999 by
Janet Jagan was, therefore, illegal since she was an illegal President, per the
ruling in 2001.

The voters need to know the 2001 Elections that Jagdeo held were, therefore, illegal by virtue of him being an illegal appointee and … as if all that was not enough… the results of his ‘victory’ in that election were stayed by Chief Justice Desiree Bernard through injunction  because he and his Party were found guilty of Tampering with 30,000 votes from Afro Guyanese communities and the seats that he claimed were reduced, assigning the UF a seat in Parliament

These are all immortalized in Court documents.

Voters need to know that the unlovely forms of life came under Bharat and all of the trophies of infamy were acquired during his tenure.

And they need to know how endemic bad leadership is in the PPP ; that the  US Drug Enforcement Agency first set up shop in Guyana in 1995, when Feroze Mohamed was Home Affairs Minister and Cheddi Jagan was President.

Then, they need to be reminded while the PPP was tarnishing Guyana’s image with its rickety governance, Ralph Ramkarran and Henry Jeffrey were willing and active members of PPP Government and Party that broke the law by heisting the nation’s Presidency, foisting a Jagdeo upon the people during an illegal tenure and engaging in a spree of ballot tampering and voter suppression, all documented infractions determined in a court of law.

And this takes care of these two former practitioners of PPP doctrinaire who are now claiming epiphany and national realization- Jeffrey and Ramkarran.

That’s what a tactician would introduce. That’s the kind of strategy that will arrest the attention of the voter…EVERY LAST ONE, irrespective of Party.

Messaging is more than sounding folksy at the Opening of Congress Place at
Vreedenhoop, for example.

Issuing gilded invites in serious language decked in its Sunday best is irretrievably antique.

Nobody gets it.

Forty eight months after promising competent and trustworthy Government, the Coalition has proven to be none of those things. But the Political Gods are still on their side.

Summon them.

The Incumbent Government is up against the only provably illegitimate leader in Guyana’s history – Bharat Jagdeo.

A slogan like PPP: Illegitimate then Counterfeit now…tells a story and along a timeline.

A Message like: Only two people could be President. One of them comes from the only Party with provable charges against it of repeated voter fraud. The other is David Granger.

Look. We are not Partisans . We are Patriots.

So we can have Frank and Fearless commentary on the things we see as woefully lacking.

Contempt from those who brand us as anti-government or double agents is expressly irrelevant; especially when political weaknesses and vulnerabilities continue unabated.

Guyanese are now being forced to walk the political plank because the Government it relied on to get it to the Promised Land wanted to get there before them.

Not mixing metaphors or using Biblical illustrations or literary personification without warrant but they are now on their Mount Nebo, in sight only of Hope.

It’s the closest they’ve gotten from Despair, their goaler of 23 years.

The choice should be clear and campaigning is meant to ensure that voters know that the choice is clear by stamping a constant presence in their consciousness . It is alarming that people are not aware of an ongoing campaign nor are they aware of proximity of voting day.

What do they know, we ask?

People know that Jagdeo’s Opposition has called on them to kick out Coalition Canvassers from their neighborhoods come March 21st because “they will be illegal“.

People know that his Opposition has planned to picket officials everywhere come March 21st.

We’re not suggesting that the Coalition counters because that will only be reactionary. They’ve been reactionary for forty eight months and that’s a huge chunk of the problem.

We are asking for them to keep their supporters informed enough to ensure that the only information they know about the political stalemate is NOT about the Opposition.

And it would be good to see some ORGANIZED counter picketing which would mean thematic messaging and correctly spelled signage. It would be a chance, too, for the counter picketers to not be protestors, disrupters, but quiet carriers of signs bearing truth.

Guyana is now on the cusp of becoming an oil producing Nation.

The thought of petro dollars not being controlled by the PPP singularly drives Jagdeo to madness, even to the point of his spittle-projecting public outbursts that it was his Party that “found the oil”.

Telling.

Dictators seldom separate patrimony from personal property.

It was this thinking that made his Administration haven for indiscriminate logging, uncontrolled precious metals seeking and fauna poaching.

And here’s why we keep thanking the Political Gods for this shot at the polls; for out of evil commeth good.

The unanticipated benefit of the No Confidence Motion has given the electorate the chance to really look at all of the players on the board and in relation to the soon- to- be -spouting oil. Sensible consideration can be given to which Parties are more likely to caucus, join forces, with those with a legally documented track record of disregard for the Constitution and the rule of Law. That would be critical to casting the vote.

With the cascading anxiety attacks Jagdeo now suffers from, as he awaits the early elections he thought he had triggered by preying on the lesser parts of a self-serving MP, there is more of a chance to evaluate his fitness to govern…yes his, not Irfan’s…in the face of more money than the country every had to manage before.

We’re inundated with his one liners and other killer comments and amusingly watch him pause to let the enormity of their smallness sink in, while his Party disciples scream the equivalent to hallelujahs.

“Is we fine de oil”…remains their Facebook refrain and all Guyanese had better take heed, for in their alleged minds its  benefits belong to their community, if not solely, primarily.

His public disintegration is entertaining for the most part but let it not mask intent…especially given his résumé.

But the overall reality is this.

The machinations of the No Confidence Motion is testament to the resident
political villains still thinking that the game can be rigged by manipulation
for reward.

And that’s because residents retreat to their homes after Election
Day and go about their daily lives not holding their employee, the Government, accountable.

Note that in this election cycle, neither one of the major Parties has apologized for its poor Administration, for its failed promises. Neither one has done an honest review of its policies nor has it given a clear vision for the future of Guyana.

In their minds they don’t have to. They can sashay into office and act like royalty or like they are running their own salt goods shop. They are counting on Guyanese to remain incurious about the operations of the business they’ve employed Politicians to run.

There may be a new day, however.

More comments than not denigrate the callow, second rate, political leadership of the past four years.

And, even more overwhelmingly, are the sentiments of contempt for Jagdeo who is seen as more malevolent than manipulative.

There is a sense of comfort.

Those with these thoughts are no longer inhibited by tribal alignment or fear of government entrenchment. They feel safer now that there are voting options outside of the traditional Parties, even if their chances of winning are scant.

The safety of their presence outweighs their improbability.

In the end, it comes down to the voter.

These things can be difficult but given the choices and their existing records, making a decision would be simple if voters were working with a crafted message for this specific platform and moment.

Retire the zingers and the played-out one-liners.

Word is, there is a political Fairy Godfather in the house whose wand, hopefully, won’t be powered by Guyana Power and Light on Election Day. 

Whatever the case, we’ve laid out the facts.

Come on and Comment.....