Too little has been done to fulfil the spirit of the Herdmanston Accord

Dear Editor,
Guyana will be at the crossroads again, when it will have its fifth elections since the restoration of democracy in 1992. After 24 years of questionable electoral practices orchestrated by some former political strongmen from the PNC, some of whom still remain politically active in the background in the APNU, we are now saddled with over a decade of even worse practices in governance under the PPP.

An unholy alliance with drug kingpins and kleptocracy on a large scale are the order of the day under the PPP.

One would have though after the troubles prior to the Herdmanston Accord, the PPP would have understood the fact that we live in a multi-racial, multicultural society.  One would have thought that the party would have led in the reformation of the constitution to offer more genuine representation for all the people at all levels in government.  Save and except for Roger Luncheon and Robeson Benn, African-Guyanese are cut out from genuine leadership at the highest levels of the PPP government.

Thus when a government leader tries to deceive us that 29,000 people work for the state and the majority of them are African-Guyanese there is no truth in who has the power.  It is all in the hands of some 70 men, 68 of whom are Indian-Guyanese closely connected to the PPP.

Yes, the PPP can say that there are other African-Guyanese ministers and advisors, but do they have the ability to mould Guyana’s destiny?  These are token African-Guyanese managers.

This anomaly is exposed when one observes in Guyana how some of the business buddies have more administrative power than ministers, so that they can assault and hold captive NIS officials and the Minister of Public Service remains mum because she is powerless to voice an opinion.

But this reality is backed up with the fact that the PPP has created that invisible glass ceiling at the top that no African-Guyanese can penetrate, even Roger Luncheon.  Of course, with their own  practices, a similar glass ceiling also exists in the PNC; only in their case no Indian-Guyanese is eligible.

But what is more significant is that the PPP as the government has the greatest responsibility to build the nation.  However they continue to fail the people.  All they have fostered is a complete disconnect by their leadership from the issues that trouble the working class world.

That is why the PPP leadership can be so obtuse in understanding the real burning developmental challenges that the working class faces.  Unfortunately the PNC continues to marginalise itself as it misleads by trying to create the impression that only African-Guyanese are being marginalised when the reality on the ground is very different: the overwhelming majority of Guyanese, regardless of race, face the steel of the PPP save and except the few who are in the ruling cabal along with their business buddies.

The PPP has grown callous to the issues which bother the working class and their misplaced agendas and arrogance represent a dangerous precedent that if allowed to manifest themselves will create the conditions for poverty and punishment for a long time.

That is why the Alliance for Change has the sacred duty of providing alternative leadership and moral support to the people in standing up to the fearmongers. People want change, but they continue to face the fear machinery in the PNC and the PPP.  These two political parties never fail to drive fear into the people by playing the race card to the maximum at their bottom house meetings, clearly showing that we have done too little to fulfil the spirit of the Herdmanston Accord.  Both sides are setting the stage for the outcome they want and it is up to the people including the extremists on both sides to ignore them this time around.

The PPP message of ‘do not split the vote‘ and the PNC message of ‘kith and kin‘ must be exposed at these elections by all those who are in favour of one people, one nation, with one destiny, by solidly voting for change.  There was an expectation in 1998, when the electoral violence was called off, that with political moderation came stronger and more independent institutions to facilitate greater social cohesion.  However, from their public policy over the last decade, the PPP has guaranteed that none of this envisioned ethnic harmony was going to be realised.  Their focused obsession with kleptocracy kept them permanently distracted from nation building. Bodies like the Auditor General Department, the Ombudsman, the Police Complaints Authority, the Integrity Commission, the Ethnic Relations Commission, and the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament and the National Procurement Commission were deliberately stifled thus undermining social cohesion.  Unfortunately the PNC continued to function as an ethnic political party thus rendering themselves ineligible to demand the fulfilment of the terms and conditions of the Hermandston Accord. People want representation, but some remain scared of surrendering to the other side, but what we know for a fact is that the youths are not scared; they are ready to come off the fence and will penalise those political forces they see as exploiters of race in the elections season.  Over the next 8-9 weeks, the AFC will be in the field hitting the dirt as we have been doing over the last 5 years, grounding and engaging the real people and hoping we can persuade them to stop fearing and start acting by coming off the fence and sweeping the PNC, now called APNU and the PPP out.
Let us all pick up our brooms and sweep them out.

Yours faithfully,
Sasenarine Singh

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