For those us who remember the days when talk of the ‘Third Force’ showed hope beyond the stagnation of the traditional political Parties, the prescience of Sheila Holder and the position of Alliance for Change, AFC, at this pre-election moment looms as a haunting reminder of her genuine endeavors to change Guyana’s politics at the granular level.
By default back then, all Third Force ambitions were mocked to scorn, their acronyms weaponized to stain rather than brand, which cast them into that pit of unelectables dug by the Nation’s fathers of politics, who have successfully infected the political DNA of voters with a hardwired assimilation of national politics as an exercise in racial and ideological identification and not at all as the socioeconomic ladder it is meant to be for all of citizenry.
It is Sheila Holder’s pledge to stand firm on AFC principles in the face of wooing financial enticers from A Partnership for National Unity, APNU, relentlessly seeking to expand Coalition membership- that we recall on the eve of General Elections; principles that were not founded on the advancement of a Party or individual ambitions but of a nation which she felt remained in the political wilderness under the PPP and PNC, decades post-Independence.
The 2015 Cummingsburg Accord that negotiated a split of Parliamentary seats, the Prime Ministerial pick and a Vice Presidency was received with relative warmth- that relative being the kleptocray of the PPP Administration to be challenged in that year’s election.
And the 36 to 60 month Sunset Clause intended to stabilize any mid-marriage wobbles did allay some anxieties, mostly because this Third Force, Nagamootoo, Trotman and Ramjattan came with years of the right kind of experience – skills acquired from both traditional parties -a plus given that whole ‘forewarned is to be forearmed’ idiom.
The initial rumblings of President Granger, in his, reportedly, unilateral attempt to change the terms of the Accord were expected to be met with the force of the principles that Sheila Holder said was a privilege to exercise for an electorate that entrusted her to act on its behalf.
There was an agreement solidified because its terms were amenable to both Parties and its triggers for change were not only strictly defined but unambiguous.
Yet the attempts to suggest that the Accord was on a collision course with the Constitution or was possibly invalid because President Granger had signed the wrong year on it, both political putrefaction, weren’t defended with requisite courage from Third Force AFC heads who once shared the principles of Sheila Holder, seemingly.
Contesting Local Government Elections was a telling fracture magnified by that singular AFC Representative making a public announcement on his faction’s decision to “go it alone” followed by the APNU five –party remainder announcing its intent to run as its own fragment.
The autonomy and the braggadocio demonstrated by these individual announcements suggested that these entities forgot that they were in office for the people and not for themselves or they would have at least asked their employees, the people, for their thoughts before “going it alone”.
Implicit in electing a politician is authorizing that electee to act on the electorate’s behalf but simultaneously implicit, is that the authority is not abused for individual vanity or partisan statement.
The Coalition’s Government “of the people, for the people by the people” , stated and/or implied, came as welcome reprieve when the narrowest of doctrines dominated politics and the reason for the better half of mankind was enchained by racial tyranny and partisan privilege.
Spiritually mangled, the electorate saw the Coalition as rebuke to tyranny and as a vindication of the 23 years of suffering that brought the slaughter of Afro Guyanese through the Government’s machine, eliciting empathy of so many from the nation’s family of the other five races who felt they were weapons in a war they had not enlisted for.
The 2015 swing vote tally tells that story.
The last few months of unsubtle feuding between AFC and PNCR have awakened the kind of unease a Coalition with an accord was supposed to have abated.
Changes to the control split in Parliament came with a declaration of power that is discomfiting.
The reduction of AFC 40% holding to 30% was done based on its performance in the Local Government Elections, says APNU.
If a new formulary for seat allocation were to be introduced, a good time to have done so would have been within the pre-no confidence Sunset Clause period when representatives would have had an opportunity to get feedback from their employers, the electors.
This declaration of what the AFC is entitled to, based on an underperforming LGE turnout of a mere 36.3% of 574K voters, is a proportional representation that extrapolates, apparently, the small voter percentage garnished by AFC without calculating the Goodwill that the AFC would have given to the Coalition’s victory in 2015 and the subsequent Goodwill the AFC would have lost because of its association with APNU, the least being this recent feud.
It’s the kind of Fair Value application we would have expected the remaining founders of AFC, the Third Force, to request, having shared the founding principles Sheila Holder would have stood by, we’re thinking, at this moment when negotiation looks more like a hostile takeover with the electorate, once again, as the victims, as AFC heads rationalize their reduction from 12 seats to 10 with a subjective explanation of what “he wants” and not what his electors expect.
This is why the supporting elements of politicking should be assigned to those specialists with the requisite know how, we’re suggesting.
And accepting blame for the the closure of Sugar Estates as some modest mea culpa, when the 39% EU sugar subsidy that kept Guyana’s production on the market was in retraction since 2005 in keeping with the UK’s Lomé Convention , all of which the PPP knew and kept pouring loans and money into a bogus revival to launder millions through entities like Bosch Engineering , only highlights the questionable mission of this current Third Force and if service to the people is still at its core.
Seriously. How could keeping Skeldon Sugar Factory open even be a thing.if you’re serious about governing and why even invoke its closure to excuse poor “sugar ” turnout when we all know why the turnout was poor?
Lots of us pay attention to issues of national import.
Nevertheless, we still think god is a Guyanese and the ‘no weapon formed against’ thing applies… given the Coalition’s survival of the Jagdeo induced ‘No Confidence Coup’ and how it was able to use the strands of what’s left of the shredded Constitution to steer the nation into an election cycle that is consistent with normalcy and with the added bonus of cleaning up the GECOM hatchery of ‘just in case’ Voter ID’s that Bharrat spawned since 2008.
However, there is strong distaste for kings and politicians who feel cunning and manipulation are the keys to supporters’ hearts. If the allocation of seats are determined by performance then that performance should never be restricted to Local Government elections, a mere sliver of the performance pie.
There are all sorts of Opinion Editorials that use terms like’ lesser of two evils’ which we refute because an elected official should never be given the option of evil. We accept that there will be trade offs but refuse to accept that they must be unholy.
Only if you are completely ignorant of our political history and basic economics would you consider this government worse than the previous one, as disappointing as it has been but there’s a lil more to be thought of here, like why it’s not going so well for you, Citizen Voter.
Some of it is not your fault…given the way politics is dispensed in Guyana but bad luck becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when you refuse to be informed.
Guyana is on the cusp of handling more wealth than it ever has.
You, Citizen Voter, have been victim of the roguery of Jagdeo and the previous multiple- decade Administration that siphoned your wealth into their well being, while erecting a formidable racial divide with a by- product of Supporting Citizens Willing to Suck Up to Survive.
Now that you have a chance to go to the polls to elect a new Government and from a greater variety than ever before, armed with the fact that Guyana was at its effective worst under the PPP, which attempted to re-install itself by prematurely dislodging the Coalition then spent the proceeding 9 months litigating to get back the keys to the Treasury, the PPP, Jagdeo and Irfan Ali should be considered trick questions and summarily excluded as options.
What’s left is a government that fell short of expectations but being robbed about 45% of its term by the rogue Opposition, it’s difficult to predict if there was a corrective path ahead.
To this,now, add a healthy variety of non traditional Parties, the backbone of our democracy, with caution only when considering with whom they would caucus; if joining forces would be for national and not partisan expedience.
Undeniable efforts have been made to ensure voter registration and by extension voter turnout and in every region.
Election day is the one day everyone’s power is equal, when voting becomes more of a duty than a right, when those with the responsibility get the privilege to exercise it on behalf of those who can’t.
We’ve seen how the generational effect of one group of people voting consistently for reasons that are not of national benefit have crippled the right to thrive evenly in Guyana, how inexplicable wealth has created a classism that threatens the rest of society, how Governments weaponize tax dollars to entrench themselves against the will of the people…ALL THE PEOPLE.
If you don’t vote in 2020 or cast your vote on the side of Oppression, you would have missed the tragedy of the preceding.