We at Pro Guyana read the letter entitled `How credible is Dr. Rose now as a messenger’ (SN, October 26, 2013) as cause to reiterate principles that should be vital not only in the competitive democracy we and others would like to see Guyana become, but in academia. Regarding academic principles, we and others celebrate Dr. Rose, also a co-founder of Pro Guyana, as a serious academic personality. In that regard, he is obliged not only to seek information constantly, but also to respond to new data. Sometimes, that data will reinforce previous decisions, but at other times it will and should cause conclusions to be reviewed and revised. Is Mr. Hergash seriously proposing that the only thoughtful response to new information should be stubborn refusal to reconsider previous decisions? Dr. Rose did exactly what a scholar is expected to do.
Concerning competitive democracy, we stand with Dr. Rose in his brave willingness to change his publicly announced political opinions. Certainly, given Dr. Rose’s prominence he would have anticipated responses including those expressed in Mr. Hergash’s letter. The important principle, though, is that voters should feel free to shatter the imprisonment of the “my party” or “my candidate” models, when those affiliations do not respond to the voters’ desires and preferences.
This pattern also exists in other countries, but perhaps we are among those who can least afford it. Guyana might be in a very different national situation if political parties were far less able to take their supporters for granted.
This presumptuousness is visible in the mentality that compels voters to support one party primarily because they dislike another, or despite blatantly disappointing conduct, instead of because of affirmative qualities of the party they support. It is also visible in the way that, by implication, voters support the parliamentary list system when its removal would actually empower local voters and voting instead of political appointees who are poorly motivated to serve local constituents.
Dr. Rose’s decision to support Brigadier Granger was thoughtfully based on facts he has set forth publicly, including Brig. Granger’s desire for national unity and human development in Guyana.
Therefore, we believe we could be forgiven for being surprised that a commentator and published author of Mr. Hergash’s stature would even imply criticism of a powerful cornerstone of functioning democracy: free and informed choice.