At the upcoming general elections, I believe Guyanese would be, for the first time, voting more on issues and quality of leadership, not so much for parties and charismatic leaders.
It would therefore be nice if the editors of Stabroek News and Kaieteur News, and perhaps also Chronicle and Guyana Times, could come together, in collaboration with the University of Guyana’s Department of Political Science, and organize at least two televised Presidential and Prime Ministerial debates among the various candidates contesting the upcoming general elections.
I personally would like to hear how these candidates plan to deal with the stinging issues currently and persistently plaguing Guyana. I don’t want to hear what they have done in the past, (and no propaganda, please!) but what concrete proposals they have for the next five years to deal with such issues as: the prevalent drug problem and its concomitants – violent crimes and money laundering; corruption (bribery in particular) and accountability of public funds; opportunities for the diaspora to safely re-migrate to and invest in Guyana; general sanitation; racial harmonization, marginalization/victimization of people who do not support the ruling party or parties; medium and long term capital development plans; and perhaps most importantly, their ideas on how to bridge the gap between economic growth and socio-cultural, aesthetic, and moral development of our society.
I know it would be difficult to get all the candidates to participate in debates. They might agree, yes, but at the last moment opt out on lame excuses. Perhaps it would help if they are convinced that the debates would not be aimed or intended to expose their personal weaknesses, but their strengths as leaders. After all, voters have a right to know for whom and what they are voting.
If the above suggestion cannot work, can each party at least publish, in ample time, prior to elections, a detailed manifesto for the public’s scrutiny?