Guyana was born a broken nation forty-six ago. We gained Independence in a state of emergency – proclaimed during the bloody 165-day strike by the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union, the trade union partner of the People’s Progressive Party.
The PPP, in its disdain for national unity and its contempt for the public will, refused to participate in the talks to draft the Independence Constitution. It refused to participate in the Independence celebrations. It refused to occupy its seats in the National Assembly for several months.
The PPP returned to office again in 1992 and our nation is in a state of crisis again. Guyana is now at breaking point after twenty-two years of PPP one-party rule. Our nation, today, is under siege. Arson and armed robberies, domestic violence, banditry in the hinterland, piracy on the coastland and murder in our communities have scarred our society. Poverty and unemployment have created an army of beggars, drug addicts, destitute people, wandering girls and street children. University graduates, talented teachers, nurses and thousands of ordinary citizens race to migrate in droves from their homeland.
A Partnership for National Unity – comprising the Guyana Action Party, National Front Alliance, People’s National Congress and Working People’s Alliance and other social partners –took the first bold step in 2011 on the long and hard road to restart the unfinished work of the founders of this nation who fought for Independence. We realized from the start that we could not build a unified nation, however, when the coastland succeeds but the hinterland suffers; when the lawless flourish while the righteous perish; or when an oligarchy prospers while the ordinary people remain mired in poverty and despair.
APNU intends to establish a government of national unity. Such a government will be committed to the concept of an “inclusionary democracy” and dedicated to the proposition that all Guyanese are entitled to a good life. Our partners are committed to give full meaning to our national Constitution by creating an “inclusionary democracy.” Our Constitution has ordained:
The principal objective of the political system of the State is to establish an inclusionary democracy by providing increasing opportunities for the participation of citizens and their organisations in the management and decision-making processes of the State, with particular emphasis on those areas of decision-making that directly affect their well-being.
The time to seize those ‘opportunities’ has come. APNU’s mission is to establish that “inclusionary democracy” for future generations to enjoy. Our task is to transform several disunited parties into a single government of national unity.
Confrontation characterised the ‘old politics.’ Calculations of ethnic support determined election tactics. The ‘winner-takes-all’ jackpot became the prize of every election. The political landscape became a battlefield, not always of ideas, but of racial rivalry. Communal conflict hampered human development. That system has now become dangerously dysfunctional. Our society, under the PPP’s 22-year, one-party regime, has become more deeply divided than it has ever been at any time for 100 years.
The tide of ideas in Guyanese politics has turned. APNU is more than a party; it is a movement. It is a movement to create a community with a common cause. It is a movement to reaffirm our common commitment to confront the challenges facing our nation. It is a movement to establish an equitable society, in a stable political environment with a prosperous economy. It is a movement, most of all, to secure the future for our youth and our children.
The PPP has failed us because its entire set of political values is wrong. Its attitude to the trade unions is wrong. Its attitude to the private media is wrong. Its attitude to the University of Guyana is wrong. Its attitude to the Public Service is wrong. Its attitude to the Foreign Service is wrong. Its attitude to national insurance is wrong. Its attitude to public security is wrong. Its attitude to ethnic relations is wrong.
The PPP has offended against the basic principles of responsibility of any government – to protect the lives of its own citizens. During this PPP regime since 1992, security forces have conducted torture. Death squads have carried out extra-judicial killings. The PPP’s reckless mismanagement of public security has sullied our nation’s reputation in the Western Hemisphere.
The PPP has failed because it cannot understand that a nation is not a plantation. It seems incapable of understanding that it cannot play politics with people’s self-esteem, with their dignity and with their lives. The only way to stop the rot and save this nation from further decay is to bring an end to the PPP’s experiment of playing with power. It is time for it to throw its Leninist style of governance into the dustbin of history where it belongs. It is time for the PPP to go!
APNU is committed to the ideal of a “good life” for all Guyanese. Voters at the next general and regional elections will have had this PPP administration for 30 years – seven from 1957 to 1964 and twenty-three from 1992 to 2015. They have seen how the PPP has become a museum of an obsolete democratic centralism and discredited cronyism. They have seen how the communism of its founders putrefied into the cronyism of its successors.
A party that does not change, dies and the PPP is dying ideologically and intellectually. It has no ideas about how to change the nation. It has no interest in how to change the nation.
Our country cannot continue teetering interminably on the brink of catastrophe, staggering from crisis to crisis, sliding into the swamp of social decadence. The PPP, meanwhile, boasts not of change but of continuity. Continuity of what? Corruption? Cronyism? Crime?
There are two kinds of people in Guyanese politics. On one hand are those who control the state television, the state radio and the state newspaper and prattle about democracy. On the other hand are those who support A Partnership for National Unity and practice “inclusionary democracy.” The time has come for “inclusionary democracy” – ordained by our national Constitution – to move across the regions, across political boundaries, across ethnic barriers, across the generation gap.
APNU represents the national interest. APNU is on the side of the majority. APNU is the mainstream voice in politics today. APNU is the face of the future.