Now that, after what seemed an eternity, the final results are in and the winner declared, I wish to extend congratulations to President Donald Ramotar and the PPP/C. He and his party won fair and square in accordance with the democratic process. It is now time, after a campaign that saw its share of acrimonious mud-slinging, for all to be concentrating on the serious job of moving the country forward.
The country is really unique in its voting patterns, and I dare anyone to argue that the race issue, injected into Guyana’s politics by outside forces during some trying times, is not a significant factor, particularly among the older folks. Burnham knew this and felt that the only way he could win was to rig the vote. Also, Indians, who have constituted (and still do) the bulk of PPP/C support, and who watched as the PPP/C was sidelined through a process rife with fraud, corruption and intimidation, are extremely wary of any possible return of those dark days. So the pattern of voting that, arguably, can be said not to be based solely on merit, continues, and the sad thing about it is that every five years, one segment of the population, African-Guyanese, feels left out because of the continuing, and not unreasonable, perception that because of race, their party will never again assume power.
Democracy is indeed a desirable process but in the context of Guyana, I submit, it is too coloured by the ethnic factor. With this in mind, I’ve always posited that the two major parties need to come together and forge some kind of alliance. President Carter said this after the elections five years ago and even five years before that. Dr Jagan saw this need and made overtures, unsuccessfully, to Burnham. One would hope, though, that this is not an impossible dream. Mr Ramotar’s first major pronouncement post election, that he would be open to the idea of shared governance, speaks volumes and indeed offers encouragement and hope. Mr Ramjattan’s call for a party of national unity certainly adds impetus to the idea. And I feel confident that, after all is said and done, Mr Granger, who impressed many with what was deemed his positive approach during the campaign, would also put country first and join in the call for national unity.
What should be paramount is making life better for the Guyanese people rather than who wields power. And the campaign saw all its participants proclaim they were interested in just that. So, in the spirit of national unity and the furtherance of a goal that, sadly, has proved too elusive in the past, the time is ripe for appropriate steps to be taken to achieve it. Only then can we start hoping to live up to our motto: One People, One Nation, One Destiny.