GUYANA – NORTON LOCAL GOVT.ELECTION

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Not to put too fine a point on it, the Opposition’s advertised indecision on whether it will participate in Local Government Elections is the kind of pseudo strategic posturing that offers negligible help to an electorate, dependent on this arm of government for its political fortunes.

The 1953 Constitution granted universal suffrage – the right protected by Constitution for every adult man and woman, 21 years and older to vote- following recommendations of Waddington Commission.

The evolved structure of local government and general elections, in which the voters select a specific candidate to execute on their behalf, is done with the inherent expectation of that candidate doing the specific thing for which they were elected.

Accordingly, the anticipation is for the leader of a conglomerate political Opposition to be in perpetual preparation to contest elections when they are called…particularly because elections are required, by law, to be Gazetted within a prescribed window and especially because snap elections can be called by the Government, for reasons they determine to be dire. 

Ignoring the fact that these political convulsions shook the nation as recently as 2018 because an Opposition, with a tenuous one seat lead, lacked exigency planning for the obvious threat that sat amongst them, is a damning indictment to their vision then and extended myopia now.

That threat, we recall, was a crafty character with a calculus for political gamesmanship which he used to resign not once but twice from his Party, which took him back one time too many.

It’s the exigency planning that’s the point…that unglamorous activity of analyzing, anticipating and forecasting, that plucks you off the public stage and places you where performance is measured by effective engagement and calculated projection of outcomes.

We’ve already seen how its absence has delivered on the incessant threat to Afro Guyanese by the ruling Party, whose politics is rooted in making this race its nemesis… and will err on the side of thinking that, in casting its vote, the electorate selected this Opposition to make things better for them, through wise politicking.

Few things so embitter a community as squandered hope and Afro Guyanese have decades of spent hope under the current rulers of Government… as a consequence of chronic shortsightedness by their delegates.

For, an Opposition Leader to hint about participation in an election known for poor turnout, call for a clean voters’ list then hedge his electorate’s participation in something as critical as an election, when the voter’s list fails his muster, is the kind of insufferable overreach to caress individual ego while subverting individual right to vote, that has plagued this faction of the electorate for too long…is our unbudgeable opinion.

We’re all for a clean voter’s list, don’t get us wrong. But there is a way to fight for it without jeopardizing the rights of voters or eroding the efficacy of the Opposition. As the recipient of the vote, you are expected to protect it, utilize it in a way that rises above it becoming a bargaining chip for individual and partisan glory. To publicly declare the possibility of subverting it, is the height of effrontery…and those ‘ff’s’ could be interpreted as felt, for context.

It’s time, we’re thinking, for holding the political leaders accountable for the pledges that got them into office… to push back on the cosmic injustice they blame for unfairly favoring their opponents, in order to deflect from their own failure to repair and redirect what is broken…as they had promised.

Selling political savvy and other candidate positives would appeal to people yearning for hope. But, if the practical effect is keeping your right to elect politicians out of the voting booth, then, the Leader needs to be told that he has misrepresented both his intention and you.

And, this should take precedence over the incessant talk about potential individual wealth which is seconded, only, to talk about Government’s overt exclusion of communities in the democratic society that should be benefitting, equally, from every socio economic level.

Lots of energy but we feel it’s misplaced. Nothing, nothing at all, can be accomplished if the negotiator refuses no negotiate where it matters.

The Opposition’s place to make a way for the talk of individual wealth to come to fruition is in Parliament, talking with the leaders of a Government that has quorum to make decisions without their presence…which is further evidence of them underserving the people who elected their representation. Their refusal to sit in Parliament is hurting the 50% of the elecorate that they are, by Constituion, representing.

Curiously, holding leaders politically liable never seems to top the marquis of the groups and podcasts that talk personal wealth…leaving many with the opinion that speaking out is selling out – which fosters consensus decision behind ethnicity…in this case, supporting a boycott of Parliament and a posture that creates vulnerability at the ballot box… if one person is allowed to decide whether a segment of the elctorate can cast its vote and in which election.

Your elected official’s representation for you in the halls of Government is never an optional act of political grace.

Hopefully, the politically marginalized electorate will be given that message.

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