Poor people always win voting for minority governments

Dear Editor,

I am by no means an AFC supporter but I acknowledge that the AFC is, despite its flaws, the best of the current lot. There is a misguided theory being paraded that the AFC cannot win a majority (50% or more of the total vote) and therefore, one should not vote for the AFC. I have never heard more ignorant garbage. The AFC does not have to win the 2011 election to win the election. I’ll explain. This is not about winning it all but winning enough to hold the balance of power. It is about voters courageously giving the AFC the support to create a minority government either on its own or to form a strong third force to keep a PPP minority government honest, for as we know the PNC has been a rather pathetic opposition. Let us assume as a hypothetical example, that the government stops the pontoon service crossing the Berbice River because the investors are losing money since people are not using the Berbice Bridge. Let us assume, hypothetically speaking, the government supports the powerful against the interests of the poor and powerless, and declares it is shutting down the pontoon service. In a majority government where the PPP was given absolute power by those same Berbicians protesting the closure of the pontoon service, the government would do exactly what it pleased and would not care about anyone, despite the obvious hardship it would cause. In a minority government, the PPP government could never get away with this action. Even if the PPP did this, the rest of Parliament would use its majority to override the act and to maintain the ferry service to ensure the poor were not marginalized. This is why it is vital for those seeking to change their vote in 2011 to create a minority government, whether a PPP or AFC minority government. The PPP, PNC, Donald Ramotar and David Granger do not deserve a majority.

The PNC cannot ever get into political power again, meaning it cannot win a majority or a minority government. Its voters will have to decide if they want to stick with the PNC or migrate to the AFC. In my view, a political party that holds the balance of power such as the AFC is better than a party that holds a sufficiently large block of votes such as the PNC, but is considered a pariah to the extent that no one will ever coalesce with it. The AFC can deliver a vital role for Indian voters as it can become with their votes a strong enough third force to become the conscience to a PPP minority government. Voters in Canada, Australia, Europe and New Zealand elect minority governments all the time. It is time the nation forget power-sharing and start practising minority government. Power-sharing in Guyana will be the big shots in the PPP and PNC dividing up the spoils while completing disregarding their constituencies.

Minority government comes directly from the voting choice of the people. It is decided by the people. It puts power back into the hands of the people. Minority government in a divided society is all about entrenching democracy and giving power to personal choice and individual expression. It is about keeping politicians in check by limiting their power. Minority government is an excellent choice for young voters who are considering moving beyond a racially fixated voting habit in 2011.

How would minority government occur in Guyana? That higher percentage of voters who want to vote AFC in 2011 have to just do it, just get it done, get it over with and stop beating around the bush with it. History will record the significance of their choice. Those who think that voting for a third force is a waste of time are terribly mistaken. The mindset that a political party must get maximum power is a foolish one. Maximum power in the form of majority government has proven to be disastrous in Guyana. It has destroyed us. A third force that prevents any party from becoming a majority government would automatically change the face of democracy in the nation. Voters can control government with minority government. If there was minority government in Guyana, incompetents like some of our ministers could never sit in ministerial chairs.

Minority governments will prevent Pradovilles. They can ensure Donald Ramotar does not sit on the GuySuCo board for an eternity amidst runaway failure. Because parties want that majority in the next election, they will work harder, clean up their act, fight internal corruption, remove dinosaurs, cull the charlatans, attempt crossover messaging and constantly prove themselves to voters.

Voting for the AFC in larger numbers in 2011 will create a revolution in democracy in this nation. A revolution where political parties that disregarded and mistreated the ordinary voters will be trying to eat out of their hands to get their votes in the next election. A revolution where  the voters hold the ultimate power when they install a minority government. A revolution of greater pro-people governance. A strong vote for the AFC does not only help the AFC, it puts pressure on all parties to start performing for the people of the nation. So a vote for the AFC benefits all parties. It would be the beginning of a bold new democratic direction in this country.

Guyanese have to stop being monolithic sheep following corrupt shepherds down an abyss. There are different kinds of winning and different measures of victory. Poor people always win voting for minority governments. In countries divided by race and class, minority governments are a darn good thing. If those brave Guyanese who are ready to look beyond the basic instinct of race actually do this right, a lot of wrongs will be corrected in 2011.

Yours faithfully,
M Maxwell

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