You cannot paint a horse and call it a zebra, and neither can Donald Romotar divorce himself from President Jagdeo and the current PPP regime, with its neglect, its corruption, its thievery and its shame.
In fact Mr Ramotar has said that he intends to embrace the status quo, and has signalled to the nation that his will be an administration of continuity. Yes, Ramotar will be Jagdeo part two, so if you like what you have now, rest easy, for the rest of us the time for action is now.
After a decade of poor education, continuous PPP propaganda, institutional governmental neglect and a mad rush by the middle-class, better educated Guyanese for the exits, what we have left is a people who are downtrodden, cynical about politics and in constant survival mode. Those who might have been more militant in earlier times and still reside within Guyana’s borders have given up.
APNU leader Brigadier David Granger made a very profound statement while addressing a gathering of youth. He said, “We can’t build a country on perpetual conflict,” and for the past fifty years that is what we have had – continuous conflict. Generations of Guyanese have known nothing but the constant squabbling between the political parties and ethnic distrust, and the net result is the apathy, underdevelopment and criminal enterprise that Donald Ramotar’s PPP presents as progress.
It is not by accident that much of the debate and politicking this election season is happening in the diaspora. Having left Guyana and being exposed to true democracy and effective governments that actually work, and a private sector that is free of undue political interference, modern schools and social and security systems that work for and not against the people, this demographic understands the urgency of ‘now.’ They did not leave for the most part because they wanted to, but because the political and economic climate was unhealthy for growth and development. Some may have lost their Guyanese accents but what they never lost was love of country, and a hope to see Guyana one day take her rightful place as a leader in the community of nations, our institutions functioning and our people properly led. Many who left in the seventies and eighties are ready to retire to the land of their birth, but not under the current broken system of government.
The current dispensation which has led to apathy, alcoholism as a national pastime, poverty and crime must be arrested.
One party rule, and the winner take all system must be replaced by a more equitable and representative form of government. This will be very difficult to achieve after so many years of indoctrination and entrenched ethnic insecurities. The media must play its part in deconstructing some of the myths that have kept us a divided people, and leaders must take the message to the street, the rum shops and Gullies.
The APNU in my opinion has the right formula for securing the confidence of all of the people. Unlike the other parties contesting this year’s election, they are not advocating a winner take all system. In fact under their Unity Charter all parties will be invited to form the government, all stakeholders will have a voice in the formulation of policy.
This will serve to minimize social and ethnic tensions, enhance inter-communal harmony, improve morale and create general stability that can encourage a climate for economic growth and development. In addition, under this new system the covering up of corruption and other negative behaviours will be significantly curtailed. Discrimination in such areas as access to land and house lots, jobs, promotions, training and scholarships, loans, subventions, tax incentives, procurement of contracts and government advertisements will be eradicated. This is the dispensation we should seek and embrace; this is what many in the diaspora want in a new Guyana and what APNU will deliver when they secure victory at the polls. It is an ideal worth fighting for; it is something that should create a stir even among the cynics and apathetic among us. APNU must work harder to spread this message.