Ramotar wants to do things differently

Dear Editor,

Now that the voting populace of Guyana has spoken, they would undoubtedly wish to see a
return to normalcy in our country, so that the continuous and accelerated development to which we of the PPP/C committed in our 2011 election manifesto and to which decent and progressive Guyanese eagerly look forward, can begin to be realized. They look forward to a bright future and the early removal of encumbrances that would only stall development.

President Donald Ramotar has already reached out to the leaders of the opposition political parties as we seek to chart the way forward. This is an approach which is centred not on satisfying the wishes and interests of a few with personal agendas, but on the interests, wishes and expectations of the Guyanese people. In so doing, President Ramotar, simple, humble, disciplined and committed leader that he is, has demonstrated the maturity, the discipline and the selflessness that is required at this time.

In the process also, our President has sought to avoid the political machinations of those in the opposition political parties who have conjured up the idea that Guyana belongs to them only, to do as they wish.

So that even as we work diligently to effect a spirit of compromise; we could not allow the progress we have made over the past nineteen years to come to a standstill. We must uphold and defend our democratic gains at all cost.

APNU is not the only political party that contested the 2011 general and regional elections. Furthermore, besides the 139 678 who voted APNU, there are 202 558 who voted for other parties including the PPP/C. I have not read or heard that these latter electors gave the APNU a mandate to take to the streets to represent them.

I say that we must see the political events that are presently unfolding as part of the evolution of our democracy, as a new political dispensation, a new landscape. Our failure to obtain a majority in the Parliament does not mean that the system comes crashing down around us.

The government must be allowed or else must find ways to deliver to the Guyanese people normal and essential services and not be frustrated by an opposition bent only on frustrating its efforts.

We have legislated for and we have always practised inclusionary democracy at the level of the boards, the commissions, the Parliament and the communities, and indeed, President Ramotar and his cabinet of ministers have taken to the communities to engage the Guyanese people as we begin to discuss with them in more detail many programmes for their development. I salute this approach.

APNU’s supporters have been led to believe by their leadership that they had won a majority of the votes. The Statements of Poll are not only signed by the presiding officers at the polling stations after the count of the votes in the presence of party agents, including APNU agents, but would have been signed by these very agents authenticating the results of the poll for each polling station. It would be an indictment of the numeracy skills of its agents and/or the integrity of the Gecom staff and the Elections Commissioners, three of whom have been nominated by the PNCR, to question the credibility of the results which were declared.

Meanwhile, I wish to call into question the right of APNU protesters to obstruct the free movement of Guyanese people, to hinder workers proceeding to and from work and to impede the normal flow of business, in the process affecting the volume of business and the earnings of many. This is especially so at this time of the festive season.

APNU has lost the elections. I challenge it to be a constructive opposition, whereby it can help to bring about the changes and the improved governance it has belaboured. We call it constructive dialogue.

The newly elected government must be given a chance to work. President Donald Ramotar has held out a hand of friendship and has offered to work with the opposition, not on the streets, but in the Parliament and in the communities. President Ramotar wants to do things differently.

Yours faithfully,
Norman Whittaker

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