It is encouraging to see Guyanese in the mainstream and social media, expressing concern about the terrible effects of Guyana’s ethnic-political divide. It is further reassuring that many citizens are openly discussing the problem in laudable attempts to find solutions.
There do, however, continue to be accusations and counter-accusations of racial politicking from both sides of the major ethnic divide – the Indo-Afro-Guyanese camps. Certainly, some such accusations do have merit. So who is lying and who is telling the truth; which of the parties is preaching division, and which is urging unity?
Editor, we know that the PPP/C is supported primarily by Indo-Guyanese and the APNU has a majority Afro-Guyanese base. So, we must ask the question: which party would benefit by racial division, the PPP/C or APNU, or both? On the other side of the coin, which party stands to gain if Guyanese abandon racial division and embrace a united identity? Additionally we may ask ourselves: which party practises the politics of division, and which leaders call for unity and inclusionary democracy?
We know that for the APNU to win an electoral majority, the party must necessarily attract ‘cross-over’ Indo-Guyanese voters. It therefore only makes political sense for APNU to reach out to Indo-Guyanese. In fact, we have seen the Opposition Leader David Granger in numerous outreaches to Indo-Guyanese areas of the country. Most recently on a visit to the US, Mr Granger spent almost the entire duration of his visit, engaging Indo-Guyanese. He met with PPP/C sponsored protesters and listened to their concerns. He visited homes and attended meetings and took every opportunity to advocate for national unity, an idea that the PPP/C promptly and vociferously rejected. Editor, the evidence is irrefutable: political logic dictates that the APNU must necessarily pursue national unity, as they have clearly been doing all along.
Achievement of such a goal would of course, benefit everyone; all Guyanese, regardless of ethnicity or political affiliation would have a say in their country’s future. Everyone could contribute to development, and all citizens would reap the inevitable rewards. On the other hand, let us ask the same questions of the PPP/C, though the answers may seem obvious.
The PPP/C – terrified of losing Indo-Guyanese supporters who are suffering in poverty, migrating in droves and realigning with the AFC – would do anything to hold their dwindling support base. So, does the PPP/C have the incentive to use deplorable, racially divisive tactics and rhetoric to incite fear of an ‘Afro-Guyanese’ government? Do we in fact, know of any examples of PPP/C officials using racially charged rhetoric? Guyanese are smart; we can answer these questions honestly for ourselves.
Yes, it may be true that some politicians use ethnic fear and racial tactics to achieve political objectives. But let us look at the evidence, and decide for ourselves which political party preaches fear and division on the one hand, and which party calls for unity, togetherness and inclusionary democracy. And then, let us decide if we will vote for a party that wants to keep us divided, or for one that shows us the possibility of a united, prosperous future.