January 9, 2013 is a watershed day in Guyana’s history. The West spoke in a unified voice on electoral reform in Guyana when the ambassadors of the US, Canada, UK and the EU, openly called on the PPP to stop the pathetic charade it has maintained since 1994 and hold free and fair local government elections.
The last time the West made an utterance on electoral reform in Guyana was in 1990 which then created a tsunami of change that eventually propelled the PNC from power and the PPP into office. As Desmond Hoyte and the PNC discovered, these countries are not in the habit of making innocent bluffs or harmless bluster when it comes to democracy.
The PPP’s crocodile tears to these countries condemning the opposition have backfired. These countries recognize that electoral democracy has produced a different result in 2011 and that the PPP no longer has the legal and moral legitimacy from that electoral democracy to continue the charade because it did not gain a majority of popular support but merely a minority. Democracy and democratic representation has always been the primary reason for the West’s interference in other nations in the past decade, and most definitely since the end of the Cold War and the fall of communism.
With the support of the majority of this country, the PPP has now lost legal and political legitimacy to continue to behave as it has been doing. This statement from the West calling for local government elections is confirmation of this change. While this call from the Western nations is to both the PPP and the opposition to get local government elections flowing, it is mostly directed at the PPP since the executive has to initiate the process and free up money for such elections. The PPP had parliamentary majorities from 1994 to 2011 and did nothing to get these elections going. Canada, the European Union, the UK and even the USA have all experienced their versions of minority governments with the former three experiencing minority governments very similar to what Guyana is experiencing without the noose of the presidency hanging over the country. These countries know how minority governments should work. They recognize the PPP’s crocodile tears because they know of the excessive powers of the presidency that allow a minority government to act like a majority government. The ridiculous powers of the presidency undermine the true intention and the actual voting outcomes of the electorate.
A minority government cannot prevent an entire country from having an election. Even worse, it must have galled these Western powers when the minority government not only denied the majority the right to local government elections but went further and installed handpicked local government committees and imposed them on some communities.
In this sense, the PPP is no different from the PNC when a minority government controlled the presidency and denied the population its right to vote. The failure to hold an election makes it easier to be painted as a dictatorship. Internal forces such as political, social and economic will take their cue from the West. The PPP better call local government elections early. If the PPP wants to play this one arrogantly, it might truly find out where barley ‘does grow.’ It grows in the West.