Guyanese are known for their love of partying. We have moved from a situation some years ago where there was a dearth of entertainment in the country to there now being a tad too much. As with everything else, quality suffered as quantity became the focus. Not that this bothers party-seekers; those to whom the word ‘concert’ equals ‘must go’, show up for every occasion regardless. Commentators have asked how it is that so many people can afford to attend all these shows; a question that remains unanswered.
There is a second question as yet unasked, which should not remain unanswered. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with party-going and enjoying live shows and concerts, do we feel comfortable with being thus defined as a people? Must everything we do involve loud and lewd music, alcohol, and to coin Kes and the Band, ‘wotlessness’?
To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven; sage words from Ecclesiastes 3:1 in the Bible and well known around the world. In fact, the first eight verses of that chapter have been set to music and sung/covered by several singers over the years, beginning in the 60s and as lately as last year. The message is profound and true. There must be a time and a place for everything, if not, chaos would abound making the world a million times worse than it is now.
November 28, 2011 has been designated as the time when Guyanese will go to the polls to elect the government which will run this country for the next five years. The ensuing six weeks or so between now and then have been set aside as the season for electioneering—the period when political parties have the opportunity to present their strategies for taking the country forward to the electorate who should then use these as a means for deciding which party they will vote for.
This is serious business, or it ought to be. The political parties should be doing all in their campaigns to show which one has the best plan that will appeal to the majority of voters. Of course campaigns cost money and involve significant organising. There would be less outlay involved in politicians, particularly the parties’ candidates travelling throughout the country, meeting people and ensuring that policies are explained in simple language where necessary and possible.
To date, the PPP/C—the party currently in government—is the only one to have held campaign rallies in addition to its community meetings. There was one at Albion, Berbice, which ostensibly launched the party’s campaign and a second one at Kitty Market Square in the city. A third is billed for Linden on Sunday. It appears from what we have seen so far, that the ruling party assumes everyone knows what its strategies will be if it wins the elections because the presentation of any serious plan took a back seat. The PPP/C played on its supporters’ love for partying, beginning its first two rallies with live music and dancing some of which is perhaps best suited for after dark. Its speakers harked back to the past and/or attacked the media, missing opportunities to explain to those interested, how its new candidate plans to tackle corruption, for example, which it has admitted is rife.
What any new undecided voter would have taken away from these two rallies is that the PPP is a party which knows how to party; it has issues with the independent media and it feels a need to constantly compare its performance over the past 19 years with how the country was being run by the PNC 28 years prior. There is nothing to indicate that the planned rally at Linden will be any different.
To date, APNU’s candidate and major figures in the grouping have visited several communities and there is a rally planned for Linden on Saturday.
The AFC has so far held several outreaches, community meetings and at least one public forum.
A new entity, the Fundamental Structure Group, was launched earlier this month. However, no other party has publicly done anything.
All of the parties named above have also used social media well with their candidates and the parties having Facebook pages and some using Twitter as well. And so they should; this is a time to embrace new technology as most of the new and some of the old voters are thus tuned in.
This is a time for any party or group wishing to form the new government to earn the nation’s trust and approval, which ought not to be bartered away for cheap entertainment.
This is a time to heal as our nation has been rent asunder by racial politics for far too long.
Let this be a time, too, of peace.