A remarkable letter from Medino Abraham titled ‘What if the Amerindians could unite and have their own political party?’ (SN, December 10) opens a vital debate. While some commenting on the letter summarily dismissed the topic, I think it is one that will emerge with great consequence in the next decade in Guyana, particularly with fading Indian and African populations, rising Amerindian and Mixed Race populations, declining support for the PPP and PNC, a future of minority governance, greater self-identity among Amerindians and Mixed Races and the dramatic shifts in Amerindian/Mixed Race voting habits since 2006. A majority of these two groups simply will no longer vote for an established race party just for the sake of voting. Amerindians and Mixed Races did this in the 1992, 1997 and 2001 election. The switch was thrown in 2006. The factors mentioned above, led by the growing Amerindian and Mixed populations, mean Mr Abraham must be taken seriously or we will find ourselves blindsided in this country.
It was inevitable that the entrenched practice of racial politics draped over this nation for the past 60 years would spawn further ethno-politics. It is surprising that Amerindian and Mixed Race political movements or a combined movement have not arrived earlier on the scene. Those who have engineered the ethnically divided state that is Guyana since the fifties could not seriously think that this psycho-cultural abomination they have strangled this nation with for the past 60 years would not lead other groups to fashion their own ethno-political agendas once they achieved critical mass. You cannot dominate a nation with racial politics for six decades, destroy its economic and educational sanctity, refuse to address the issue of racial confrontational politics, encourage winner-takes-all endgames, do nothing to confront ethnic competitiveness and then expect other rising racial groups will not venture down the same perfidious political path you have created when they sense their time has come.
The monster of racial politics and ethnic power struggles the PPP and PNC have created and perpetuated for the past 60 years is now coming back to haunt them when they are in demographic decline. Nothing of substance has been done in the past 60 years and in decades of PNC and PPP domination to fix the problem of ethnic aggrandizement, racial agitation and the psychic tragedies of this failed experiment.
We have been lucky so far, but the inevitable will happen and Abraham and others will get their wish. The tragedy in this country, and it is perhaps the most chilling and profoundly philistinic irony of Guyana, is that we probably need the Amerindians and Mixed Races to form their own political movements to shatter the hegemony of race. If Mr Abraham gets his wish and this country fragments politically into four distinct political brands, all linked inextricably to race, there is no winner-takes-all ever again. This will trigger upheaval in the voting preferences as the old dirty principle of not splitting the vote will not work because split or not, there is no majority power to get, and getting a plurality will be a dogfight right down to the last vote, particularly if the two new groups (Amerindians and Mixed) unite. If that unification is to occur, these new ethnic groups will win political power by the next decade.