I favour the system of post-election coalitions, if only as a strategy to maximize each party’s votes. The pre-election alliance of opposition parties is not a strategy for anything. It is certainly not a strategy to increase the combined share of votes compared to the 2011 elections.
The opposition could have secretly sold this plan to the PPP for a few million dollars – the PPP has been spending large sums campaigning on the slogan AFC=PNC for the last 8 years. Now the slogan is handed to them on a platter.
This alliance was formed under the gun of the constitution which bans post-election party coalitions and which would have handed power to a minority party with a plurality of the votes, as happened in 2011. The opposition parties are acting as if the constitution is sacrosanct. They are making a big mistake. They should act as if the constitution does not matter. The AFC is putting at risk everything it gained at the last election. There is no justification for such risk-taking.
The consciousness of the Guyanese people is tied deeply to race. They are traumatized by race. Their voting preferences are conditioned by race. And, though, there has been some evidence of a changed consciousness in some parts of the country, it is not widespread; it is still fickle and subject to backsliding.
Some years ago Prof Randy Persaud (who ran the PPP’s propaganda department) coined the phrase “AFC and PNC a wan.” The PPP has test-marketed the message and found that it resonates among Indian village folk. It arouses some of the darkest fears while at once being racist; they know it is effective. They have since hired bloggers who would repeat the phrase as many as 5 times in a 50-word post. And the AFC has no message to counter it. The AFC’s base could be devastated – ripped to shreds.
In recent times, I have been fortunate to get to meet and talk personally with leaders of the AFC and PNCR leader David Granger. They are all decent, honourable and trustworthy gentlemen. I would vote for any of them (or all of them) at the drop of a hat, but I have grave doubts about these gentlemen correctly understanding the psychology of the average Guyanese voter and of having a good strategy on how to amend the constitution.
For the good of the nation, I hope and wish my point of view does turn out to be wrong. I sincerely hope that the majority of the Guyanese voters have matured sufficiently and are ready to turn away from race-based voting.
The ruling PPP is an extremely corrupt party. The PPP is running Guyana as if it is their personally-owned plantation. Only recently Chief Justice Chang handed down a decision declaring the government’s expenditure of $4.5 billion without parliamentary approval illegal. This government neither believes in parliamentary democracy nor has the concept of a genuine multi-racial democracy. The PPP’s core campaign message is to drive home fear of the other in the Indian villages so as to secure their votes. Their messages are not subtle, not subliminal. Have we as a nation of diverse peoples not moved on from the era of the 1960s? For the current crop of PPP leaders, it’s doing what works for them, election after election.
Does the concept of forming an alliance contain the promise and an effective strategy of dethroning the PPP? I can only hold my breath and wait. I have no choice but to support the Alliance.