Dear Editor,

“We are called to be people of conviction, not conformity; of moral nobility, not social respectability. We are commanded to live differently and according to a higher loyalty” –  Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

Guyana needs far less partisanship and much more patriotism, less enmity and more comity, less yelling at or about the other party and more listening to and learning from the other party.  No party has a monopoly on judgment or truth but sometimes the PPP/C think they do. The time has come for us to be committed and passionate about the development of Guyana but our commitment should ultimately be to something much higher than political party or ideology. The members of APNU have demonstrated this to the nation. It should be about making Guyana a better place for all.

The time has come for us to put a contrast between transactional leadership and transforming leadership. A transactional leader seeks to exchange things but a transforming leader “raises the level of human conduct and ethical aspirations of both leaders and led, and thus it has a transforming effect on both.”  We need political leaders with eyes on the problems, not just on the poll; with ears for the possible, not just the popular. Thermostats, not thermometers. Wind of change, not weather vanes.

Too often we mistake arrogance for conviction. The politician, who speaks with complete confidence, belittles those who see things differently, and never expresses any sense of how difficult it is sometimes to know what’s best is more arrogant than wise.  These are not the qualities of great leaders, nor are they qualities we should accept in our politicians.

We cannot make a difference unless we are willing to be different. If politicians would lead in transforming the world, then it must be done in love.  Love is not a word used too much in politics. Too few understand its power to transform societies as well as individuals.  Exploitation and greed are the call of the day for some politician.

In this society, justice is scarce and scanty.  Justice touches many areas of our lives; justice is tied to economic issues, specifically to the plight of the poor.  When a society is not just, everyone suffers, not only the poor. Failure to ensure justice is often represented by the oppression of the poor and those in power should be punished. Simple self-interest, even without a passion for decency, should compel political leaders to put justice at the top political agenda.

Shaping our society in a way that the poor are provided for and justice is ensured is a matter of basic political and social structure, not something left to individual charity and to chance.  Justice is access to education and the job skills that enable you to feed your family and not to live on hand-outs by the government. Justice understands the old saying,  ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day but  teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’

One of the things that is nerve-wracking is the amount of domestic violence in this country. It is reported that twice as many women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriend as by strangers. I once stood at the 44 bus park and looked at the most bruised face I have ever seen. The woman’s face was literally black and blue.

It took two hours for her to relate the eleven years of abuse she had suffered at the hands of her husband.  Domestic violence is the only crime where the victim goes home with the criminal after a few counselling sessions.  And too often the victim finds herself (occasionally himself) trapped not only with the criminal but also with the weapon that the criminal used. We can’t entirely stop people from abusing those they live with, but political leaders can do some things to try to restore peace in our homes.

Later this year there will be an election and we have to select a group of people to run our affairs and more so a president to head the government. Is it enough that we vote for a candidate who shares our religious convictions? Or belongs to our social group? Or is successful, rich, and even good looking? What about evaluating the politician the same way we choose friends or a spouse – by evaluating their character, their policies and proposals and ask the recurring question: will they contribute to nation building and national development”

Justice, compassion, and freedom do not thrive in the world by wishing. They are the product of endless personal and collective choices.

Choices define character. Let us not support a candidate who gives platitudinous or evasive answers to important questions, for that individual is not likely to possess the kind of character necessary for leadership. We should try to discern a person’s motives in running for office. Is it to do justice and to protect freedom, or is it just to gain power and stature? How do his positions on issues align with the concepts for growth?  What issues does he care most about? Does he have a history of service in his private and public life, or is political office simply another way of achieving individual success?

We need political leaders who, who after contemplation and reflection on an issue, have the courage to act in the face of opposition.  We must ask ourselves whether a candidate will be committed to serving others while in office. Will that individual respond to the needs of the community and the nation in a compassionate way?

I support David Granger and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) because he is man of character; he is open-minded and humble; he is courageous and compassionate; he is intelligent and has the knowledge and political will to lead Guyana.

I will vote for him because I know he will do justice to the nation, he will protect lives and defend the freedom of all Guyana, for I know his motivation for political action is not for hate and anger but is rooted in hope and love.  The future of Guyana is in our hands, so let us work toward providing a good life for all Guyanese.

Yours faithfully,
Adel Lilly

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