Let Guyana Live: Stop The Horse Race/ Rat Race Politics

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Commentary By Dr. David Hinds

News Americas, GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Mon. Nov.  24, 2014: As one who has been very critical of the opposition APNU party for being too ready to enter into dialogue with the ruling PPP party in Guyana, it is only fair that I commend the APNU for refusing to meet with President Donald Ramotar and the PPP while the parliament remains prorogued.

As we said a few days ago, any dialogue with the President at this time would serve to legitimize the suspension. The PPP is an important political organization; it represents almost half of the electorate. There can be no truly representative Guyana government without the PPP. But the PPP must recognize that there can be no truly representative government without the representatives of the other parties that make up the Parliamentary Majority. To prorogue the parliament since November 10th without just cause is an act of political exclusion and domination that must never be tolerated in Guyana.

The AFC has already said that it is not going to enter into dialogue with the PPP at this time. Now that the APNU has made it clear that there is no backing down from its stated position of “No Dialogue” while parliament is suspended, we shall see what the PPP does. It can reopen parliament or dissolve it and call early elections. The latter would be a counterproductive step that would only increase the anxiety in the country.

Although I have sympathy for the AFC’s commitment to the no-confidence vote and subsequent elections, I remain very firm in my belief that early elections are not a solution to the impasse. It is a seductive but simplistic answer to a complex situation that has its groundings in almost seven decades of ethno-political contestation. Replacing a divided government with another divided government (the most likely result of an election at this point) would only exacerbate the current tension and frustration. Returning to a PPP legislative majority would defeat the purpose of the no-confidence motion and could have disastrous consequences. An APNU or AFC wresting of the Presidency and the legislative majority is the least likely result.

So, if the President does not dissolve parliament, the APNU and AFC have to work out now what their post-suspension agenda would be and then go into negotiations, not dialogue, with the PPP. As I have argued before, the ideal short-term solution would be an Interim National Government, comprising the parliamentary parties, for the remainder of the current term. Such a government should be tasked with overseeing, in particular,  the much touted constitutional reform aimed at bring the constitution in line with the ethnic and political realities of the country, enacting delayed legislation, cleaning up official corruption and holding Local Government elections. The time for dreaming of cross-over and non-ethnic voting patterns is over; we cannot wait any longer on the ideal. The result of the 2011 elections is as close to the ideal we are likely to get at this time. That our political leaders did not grasp the larger significance of those results is a colossal shame, which is reflected in this proroguing of the People’s House.

It’s time that we end what Elder Eusi Kwayana calls the “horse race of thoroughbreds” and what Brother Bob Marley called the “rat race.”

So if this proroguing of the parliament teaches us anything, it is that “horse race” and “rat race” Politics kills the soul of a nation and for our collective sake Guyana must live.

So Mr. PPP come off your Domination Horse. Mr. AFC come of your No-Confidence/Election Horse! And Mr. APNU come off your Indecisive/ Election Horse!

Let Guyana Live!

Dr. David Hinds, a political activist and commentator, is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Caribbean and African Diaspora Studies at Arizona State University. More of his writings and commentaries can be found on his Youtube Channel  Hinds Sight  and  on his website www.guyanacaribbeanpolitics.com