APNU AND AFC will encourage the involvement of Guyanese to restore government of their respective neighborhoods and villages to the sequential levels:
Neighbourhood -Village- Sub –Regional -Municipal -Regional. MANIFESTO APNU-AFC page 13 Under Judicial System
That Local Government Elections, LGE, had become a vanishing act in Guyana’s political environment that still cited a Constitution and Democracy to explain correctness in allowing LGE only thrice in 46 years is a picture of voter palsy inflicted by a succession dictators and their ideologies.
When Donald Ramotar acted on Bharat Jagdeo’s over estimation of voters’ love for them and the PPP, it ushered in new hope in elections that had the potential to be under cooked…given the short time span to election date, post prorogation and the time Jagdeo’s kitchen detail would have needed to cook up a victory.
A flung together Coalition pressed its way to the forefront with a Candidate Granger who was a new kind of irreverent only because he was a non-politician— but desirable because he was grounded in law and order, both of which had escaped the PPP and notably from 1992 ,when Cheddi Jagan proved the virtue so gratuitously ascribed to him being principled to be all parts fabrication.
In response to those clamoring to his defence, we offer one word… Constitution…which Cheddi pledged to reform once in office but instead, used the very parts he condemned when the other party was governing to slither his way to dictatorship and its attendant perks which were repeatedly tweaked, over the course of 23 years, to maximize every drop of abuse that could be eked out of the opportunity.
Then along came Granger, pledging to reintroduce elections and at constitutionally dictated paces.
That got him elected. He was different, ran on the stated and implied platform of being more of a disciplined mind than a politician. Distancing himself from politics was good. Voters don’t trust politicians; don’t trust that they keep their promises.
The problem with this claim, though, was that it got reality almost exactly backwards.
Opening the polls for 3rd Local Government Elections, in 46 years, in 2016, meant that Granger had kept his promise. The anemic showing of a mere 38-40% of the electorate, at the cost of 1.5 billion taxpayers’ dollars, after a 24 year voting suspension and a robust pledge from, then, President Granger to make voting a democratic right again, looked like he had merely dangled LGE’s as a strategy to help him garnish votes in his bid for the Presidency.
How could the poor showing be his fault?
The master of Statecraft, Nicolo Machiavelli, is known to have said: “The promise given was a necessity of the past; the word broken is a necessity of the present.”
Granger had kept his LGE promise, a sheer veneer and for obvious political expediency. After all, the details of its composition were never negotiated. He never said he would do his utmost to edify voters unfamiliar with the purpose of Local Government, which was suspended for the major part of most of their young lives.
So a flimsy promise would suffice.
It was a necessity of the present.
And the results were the same as the past.
The laments were as old as the practice of post-colonial elections.
Candidates were party hacks and, reportedly, were on ballots in areas where they did not reside. The preference for policy was subverted by the preference for race. And if you’re wondering why those born decades after the death of the titans who did little to effect the motto- One People, One Nation and One Destiny– would cast their vote along partisan rather than policy lines, just think political culture and the absurdity of two dead men- Burnham and Jagan- driving the nation’s ideological bus.
Understandably, the Coalition’s declaration of having won the LGE in 2016 was met with voter skepticism and of political warrant, given that the time- worn voting format inimical to democracy was recycled by the Coalition that had pledged a new way.
Out of evil cometh good…a saying of hope in times of despair.
This, trustfully, is to be its manifestation.
The 2018 announcement of LGE, which should be anticipated more than sprung upon the electorate (whatever happened to Constitution Reform) came with the unexpected silver lining of the declaration of Independent Candidates.
Being myopic or a stooge or both, in the service of partisanship, is a barrier to progress as was demonstrated in the 2016 go -around, with the counterproductive reshuffling of politicians whose only claim to fame was that they’d been around long before the younger generation…invalidating local government at Mayoral and Council levels with monumental incapacity and ineptitude.
And the stained social character of some of the 2016 candidates inclusive of a convicted child molestor and the clumsy partisan attempt to cover that up underscored that moving forward under Granger’s Team Coalition meant anything but getting rid of rooted and institutionalized behavior; anything but reform and open-mindedness; anything but change.
Guyana’s history has been that of factional politics and partisanship over patriotism.
The Two Party system has been an unequivocal cause of entrenched racism and an unquestionable preserver of the politics of backwardness. Men reign and ambitious women are elevated to mangeable designations. Corruption, dysfunction, exclusion of voters from the decision making process, silent invasion through Foreign Direct Investment, remain the order of the day; irrespective of Party; PNC or PPP; Coalition or any adoption of political nomenclature to give the appearance of a new thing.
So this batch of Independents brings hope.
Maybe their boldness will start a trend.
Maybe they’ll be smitten enough with Politics to run as Independents in the General Elections.
Borrowing from Machiavelli again, “it’s not titles that honor men but men that honor titles”.
And titles have honored men for as long as titles were given to men in the sphere of Guyana’s politics.
Each successive Administration brings the same promises, makes the same approaches and fails the nation in the same despicable way.
They could because voters may have fleeting memories but what’s the alternative when politics in Guyana remains a recycling process of the same political ideology over the same political ecology?
Think of the political smog in an environment where Government supporters incoherently argue that it’s too early to see even fundamental improvements, while a misbegotten Opposition dominates by deploying uniquely odious misinformation in enviably coordinated fashion from a multiplicity of resources and simultaneously because the Administration has become a self serving entity, more interested in presiding over territory than nation, circling its domain in shuffling fashion while it shoots itself in the foot.
We are not going to offer any more Homilies or Jeremiads on the tattered state of Guyana’s political fabric nor are we going to beseech the current Government, constitutionally comprised of the current Administration and its Opposition, to steer the nation into the future.
Evidence is redundant that the current Administration, Opposition and their offshoots have been too invertebrate to govern.
That’s not surprising since the ideology is the same, just in new vessels but what this does is erode any belief in the legitimacy of government for the generations behind.
The cheerful assumption is that voting must mean improving.
And we’re submitting that improvement can come only if new ideas, new goals, new outcomes, are introduced to an electorate hardwired for decades along racial and ideological lines.
Voting is more than a partisan superstructure.
When done and less emphatically for what currently takes Guyanese to the polls, it can actually save a nation.
The Independent political stage offers such hope.