The Opposition’s noisy breakdown echoes only in the streets.
Its Parliamentarians have taken to off-site show and tell sessions to highlight crumbling infra structure and eviction of an entrenched squatting community – all of which we already knew, manifested as poor PPP administration for its 23 years of governance.
Its five year political interlude gave the PPP enough time to machinate a return to office with sharpened methods of corruption and a heightened disdain for the Opposition and its followers- having been ‘legitimized’ with a bogus rebranding by the West, to facilitate their geo-political excesses which can now be staged from Guyana, with a complicit and compliant political team in power pushing an “inclusive democracy” which, ironically, excludes Guyanese.
This politicking from what is deemed the ‘the streets’ is not to be confused with any creation of some social democracy and should not be viewed with undue optimism. For, nothing is gained from picking the low hanging fruit of social discomfort by revisiting the woes of citizens and reminding them of their poverty and willful social neglect by their government, if you don’t have solutions.
Turns out that the promises that got the Opposition its leader, with an overwhelming number of votes, may have been mere proposals.
We get that politics is an incredibly tricky and complex institution built on bureaucracies and legislation…which is why the Opposition, not being in Parliament, is so self- defeating.
As a politician characterized as wily, buttressed by years of mileage around Guyana’s political sun, there’s little doubt that Mr. Leader knows the PPP’s 33 seat hold in a 65 seat Assembly is already an advantage which is only made exponential with the 1 seat the Parties which caucus with the PPP, provide.
The country’s political dilemma is perpetuated because politicians have found lazy comfort in politicking on what their Parties’ drafters originally wrote decades ago…literally decades ago… influenced by the racial divide that was an inheritance from colonialism.
Campaign manifestos are the biggest farces in the realm of politics, with their elaborate proclamations and infeasible goals. The insult is, they are typically cut and paste replicas of previous campaigns, save for a substituted synonym- sometimes. The sum total is a regurgitation of plans that are often too passé to be practical which makes politics more of a partisan overture than playing to a nation of voters…sadly, not offering an alternative for national interest when divisiveness is promoted as ideology.
Leadership, though, is the biggest part of the problem. The Opposition seems not to know what it stands for. Getting beyond political machismo is a large part of what is required.
Making the handshake a toxic engagement with the leader of the government is bad strategy.
Ali’s weaponized thrust of his hand for a responsive handshake from the Opposition Leader is not without calculation, anticipation of a refusal, which gives his government’s reference to ‘hostile engagement’ some credence.
We’ll suggest, again, that engaging in the glad -handling that Irfaan finds as the easier part of his role playing is a necessary exchange that can be met with a more protocoled thrust of your own, Mr. Leader. It won’t be an intimation of friendship or support for what is contrary to nation building but a vital conduit to deal making and possible cooperative intent, especially because you’re expected to, at least, make objective contribution to government plans.
We’re reading about a huge medical complex undertaking called Sheriff Medical Center. Medical services, a component of national security, are critical to the population and there’s clearly dire need for an update and expansion to what’s there. But is there any regulatory oversight of the formation of this service…from licensure to locations?
There are also plans by Sheriff to automate patient records and treatment data. Have you, Mr. Leader, had your team of experts examine, for starters, any of the organization papers of these business enities to confirm their legitimacy and expertise, in the interest of not causing harm to Guyanese who will use their services? Have you sat with the government to discuss these needed upgrades to a health care system that its own Minister says is inadequate?
Have you contributed to the privacy and data protection that this system will demand? Have you noticed public health and quality healthcare are embraced by the countries of the resident Western diplomats who, like Burnham did, see health security as a component of national security?
And for the record, the PPP’s claim, that the failure of the national hospital system occurred in the 5 years that APNU Government over saw it, is only testament to the fact that they handed over a woefully decrepit system, one that could under deliver so efficiently in just 5 years.
But getting back to the need for leadership which cannot be done in abstract or through rhetoric or amidst rounds of applause at Party fund raisers, which are completely divorced from the function the Opposition leader is expected to execute on behalf of the citizens…which are not only Party members.
An industrial Hemp Bill was passed by the PPP government in August 2022. Independently, we’ve learned that International proponents of Hemp see it as a sustainable alternative to plastic, fossil fuels and cotton and is deemed, potentially, to be of great benefit to the farmer and consumer.
Was the Opposition a contributor for or against its passage? Has the Opposition seen any of the feasibility studies, met with the Ministers of Economics and Agriculture, able to share with the nation why it has taken whatever position it has?
Party media’s circulation of photographs of the government issuing birth certificates to residents in the interior, we’re assuming, is intended to suggest some finagling.
Doesn’t birth certificates come under the Ministry of Home Affairs and doesn’t the Opposition have a shadow Minister who should be present or represented by staff to ensure the propriety of the issuance of instruments of birth and that they are going to people born in Guyana and not Venezuela or Brazil?
Ten months in to its elected position and the Opposition has spent negligible time in Parliament and has made just as much of a difference with an equal amount of participation.
Selecting single issues to draw attention to some sort of effort may be good for campaign whistle stops. But this is the big league, where parsing of matters screams absence of a comprehensive agenda.
Figuring out what matters most, matters most … is one of the pinnacles of political strategizing.
We would submit that self- exile from Parliament to protest the suspension of 8 Parliamentarians, is neither strategy nor service to the constituency that needs an Opposition to hold the government accountable.
A, let’s say this.
It’s not lost on us that the Opposition is comprised of another primary Party, with a well-seasoned politician at its helm, for those who are asking.
The meeting with the foreign community in September to discuss the domestic issue of a clean voters list, attended by both leaders, was a demonstration of unitarian thinking that foreign diplomats could sit where they’ve chosen not to sit, to negotiate their domestic needs. And, there’s the fact that some of the suspended parliamentarians come from this Party.
But we’ve learned that political alliances reconcile contending beliefs to function as a unit.
So we’ll err on the side of Coalitions having “no perpetual friends nor eternal enemies” but settle for expedience, noting specifically, the professional portfolio and seasoned political experience of the leader of the smaller majority.
We’re acutely aware that he was tapped as the PM candidate by the former President, whose navigation around a system that depends on honor, yielded him captivity of the LIST…that dome of ultimate power that entrenches the ‘Louse’ of the ruling Party as its ‘feared leader’.
Maybe ‘feared’ and ‘leader’ remain the titillators of the former president but we do know that the Leader of the smaller major Party in the Coalition is still the Deputy Holder of the List…having been appointed by that former president, whose captivity of the power to name parliamentarians remains protected by a maze of loosely glued guidelines, that a lack of honor has already unglued.
The Appointment to Parliament of the Leader of the Opposition sits between the devil and a dark place…
An Opposition that is congratulated purely on the basis of ethnic connection will remain at its ineffective best, mistaking flawed applause as thanks for a job undone. Operating as a detachment from the government it is constitutionally 50% of is simply failure to serve in its elected capacity. It is political folly and should be applauded neither on nor offshore.
It’s up to the Opposition now, after 10 months of non-accomplishments, to see that the narcissism of political differences will serve neither them nor the people they were elected to represent.
It’s, also, up to supporters to call for their candidate to deliver and not just perform.