Which is the multiracial party?

Dear Editor,

Ms Rohanie Persaud writes in an aggressive mode that is fast becoming established in the Guyanese press. (‘The only multi-racial party!’ KN, September 24).

A long-time supporter of the PPP, Boyo Ramsaroop, published a nice letter explaining with logical and reasoned arguments why he chose to change his affiliation from the PPP to AFC, and makes the claim that the AFC is the only bona fide multiracial party in Guyana. Ms Persaud argues that the AFC is not, but I am unable to understand her arguments. I would like to advance three criteria that should help to evaluate whether a party is multiracial or not.

(1)   Does the party have a written or unwritten rule that its leader can only be drawn from one particular racial group?

(2)   Does the party draw practically all of its votes at every election (more than 95%) from one particular racial group?

(3)   Do the party’s delegates at conventions and its executive and central committee members overwhelmingly come from one racial group?

With regard to criterion #1, the AFC has been around for less than 5 years, and it is not possible to come to a conclusion. However, the Guyanese people have had more than 50 years to observe the behaviour of the PPP and PNC – and there is no room for doubt that the PPP is absolutely committed to the idea that its leader can only be an Indian; and in the case of the PNC, an African.

With regard to criterion #2, no reasonable and decent Guyanese would doubt the fact that more than 95 per cent of the support of the PPP and PNC come from one particular group: Indians for the PPP;  Africans for the PNC. No amount of spinning from the ruling party’s hired guns, Doctors Randy Persaud and Prem Misir would change these facts.

With regard to criterion #3, pictures and reports of parties’ conventions in the independent press leave little doubt about the fact that both the PPP and PNC are nothing but ethnic operations. (See my letter condemning the PPP’s convention in SN of August 14, 2008).

Where did AFC’s votes in the 2006 elections come from? Did practically all of its votes come from Indians – and if not, from Africans? The Guyanese people know the answers to this question.

Considering the above three tests, there can be little doubt that the AFC comes closest to being a genuine multiracial party. The AFC offers the best hope of uniting the nation’s major racial groups – Indians and Africans – and fulfilling the promise and potential of Guyana becoming a great multiracial democracy.

I conclude by asking this question of Ms Persaud and of all decent Guyanese people: Do they really like the idea of their beloved nation being stuck in this political and racial quagmire for another 50 years?

Yours faithfully,
Mike Persaud

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