The country needs consensus and compromise

Dear Editor,

Dr Joey Jagan reminds readers that I hedged my bets on an Obama victory but did not say why and he also stated, without evidence, that American political pundits wanted to pull down Obama (‘In the US Obama has committed to consensus and compromise …‘ SN, Nov 8).

An election prediction must be based on polling or some other kind of scientific modelling as was done by the University of Colorado which predicted a Romney victory – a model that has been right for decades.  They will now have to figure out why their model failed.

Letter writer and former SN columnist GHK Lall predicted (a month ago) an Obama defeat based on the economy and high unemployment figures; both have improved from a month ago and may help to explain Obama’s re-election. Mr Lall is right that in general in such a poorly performing  economy, sitting presidents tend to lose re-election. A lot of reasons can be cited for Romney’s failure to topple Obama – ethnic, religious, division within the Republican Party, lousy candidate, ineffective vice presidential candidate, poor campaign tactics, over confidence, etc – and for Obama’s victory – a fantastic, more effective campaign, Bill Clinton’s entry, party unity, etc.

I based my analysis of the election outcome on the dozens of polls and not guesswork or personal feeling.  The national polls gave a slight edge to Romney while the polls in battleground states gave a slight edge to Obama.  No pollster said for certain Obama or Romney would win, not even the partisan pollsters from Fox or MSNBC.  The polls were accurate as the election turned out to be a cliffhanger – a very, very close outcome in the states.  Romney almost took the national vote while Obama won almost all of the battleground states. I noted in all of my writings since early August (at a time when Romney was trailing by huge numbers) that the polls will swing back and forth and the election would be very close in November – it turned out exactly that way.  So contrary to what Dr Joey stated, analyzing the election was not about “hedging bets” but providing evidence to support a claim. In all of my writings I stated that Obama had the edge based on the polls.

I am not aware of political pundits (pollsters?) who wanted to pull down Obama.  Pundits offered commentaries based on various theories (or explanations). Except for partisans or politicos, the purpose of the commentaries is not to undermine the President.  And polls don’t undermine the President but assist him to address his weak areas.

I agree with Dr Cheddi Jr that the President delivered a masterful speech promising to reach out to the opposition. He delivered similar speeches in the past but failed to reach agreements with Republicans in a number of areas, primarily Obamacare. Mitt Romney also gave an excellent concession speech to bring healing, and appealed to Republicans and Democrats to put aside partisan politics and work for the nation. If he had delivered such an exceptional speech at his convention, he may have done better in the election.

Dr Jagan is right that Guyana needs a person of vision to unite the fractured country.  The PPP lacks a majority in parliament and should take measures to win over elements in the opposition. President Ramotar should have taken measures a while back to reconcile with those who left the party because of grievances and went over to AFC or APNU.

There were several wrongdoings within the PPP and with former Speaker Ralph Ramkarran and Moses Nagamootoo having left the party, Ramotar needs to find a way to bring back both into the fold.  Moses has shown he commands a base that the PPP needs in order to win an election, and PPP loyalists are not pleased that Ralph has resigned from the party. So healing among disenchanted PPPites is urgently needed if the party is to win another election.

Also, with budget planning started, the government needs the opposition to pass the budget in March and as such should work to build consensus on common agendas.  At the same time, the opposition has to be willing to work with the President and not overreach with their one seat majority. The politics of confrontation as happened since last December (particularly in July in Linden, August in Buxton, October in Agricola, etc) and continuously near the parliament will not take the country forward.

I agree with Dr Jagan that the country desperately needs consensus and compromise among the competing political forces. Everyone has to be willing to give and take.  It can’t be a one-way street. We can’t say Rohee must go and it is our way or the highway. Such a non-shifting position will lead to confrontation as experienced over the last few months. If President Ramotar can bring healing to his party and find commonality with the opposition, he will be a successful president. If not, the stalemate will continue and progress will be stymied.

Yours faithfully,
Vishnu Bisram

More in Letters

default placeholder

GRA employees are not public servants

Dear Editor, According to the media there appears to be a misconstruction of roles, respectively of the Chairman and Board of the Guyana Revenue Authority, and that of the President, GPSU; probably because in one instance the authors are uninformed of the Revenue Authority Act 13 of 1996, amended by 16 of 2003, Clause 2 (1) which reads as follows: “Functions of Governing Board (16 of 2003) “(1) The Governing Board shall be responsible for – “a)   subject to subsection (2) the approval and review of the policy of the Authority; “b)   the monitoring of the performance of the Authority in carrying out functions; and “(c)  the discipline and control of all members of staff of the Authority appointed under this Act.” In an apparent rush to personalise a difference of positions between the two parties much ado has been made of the quoted expressions of the Chairman, as distinct from the statutory authority of that office and the Board.

default placeholder

Fishermen from Guyana and Suriname are the ones most affected by piracy

Dear Editor, I write on behalf of the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisation, the Guyana National Fisherfolk Organisation and the Suriname Fisherfolk Organisation ‒ Visserscollectief.

default placeholder

SOCU and SARU wield a political hatchet but masquerade as law enforcement agencies

Dear Editor, Just last week, I examined the causal connection between taxation and fear and economic decline in the context of the Guyanese economy.

default placeholder

To hang or not to hang

Dear Editor, To hang or not to hang has been a topic in Guyana, the Caribbean and much of the free world for several decades.

default placeholder

Working at grass-roots level more effective than Candlelight Vigils

Dear Editor, I wish to express my appreciation for the complimentary remarks and invitation extended by Mr Annan Boodram of Caribbean Voice in his letter of 21st July in the Stabroek News, in the context of the ‘debate’ on rum and alcoholism, etc (‘Letter on alcoholism referred to all alcoholic drinks, not just rum’).

default placeholder

Thoughts on the second day of the Test

Dear Editor, Lunch-time second day of the first Test India v West Indies: I watched half of the morning session on TV and listened carefully to the comments of Bishop and Dujon about the handling of the bowlers.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.



Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: