The call by the PPP for Dr Steve Surjubally to demit office as Chairman of Gecom is neither surprising nor shocking, for it speaks to the mindset of the leadership of this party which believes that it must be their way or no way. Suriujbally was one of the names for Chairman recommended by the then Opposition Leader Desmond Hoyte. He was appointed by the PPP President from among the lot.
Every election Dr Surujbally supervised prior to 2015 the PPP won, and was comfortable with him and the performance of Gecom, even when the AFC seat in Region Ten in the 2006 elections was given to them. Today when the PPP has lost the presidency and the parliament, the leadership is stridently seeking to make Dr Surujbally the fall guy, ignoring the fact that the people’s power is at work.
The recent threat by General Secretary Clement Rohee that the PPP will not participate in local government election once Surujbally heads Gecom must be rejected by right-thinking members of this society, including PPP supporters. The threat not to participate given the party’s group-think outlook invariably means supporters and members will be called on to do likewise.
Local government is another tier of government which puts the power into the hands of representatives in the villages, districts and towns to identity their leaders, develop programmes and implement them to meet their domestic needs.
This aspect of shared government must no longer be denied. Good sense must prevail among the PPP leadership, and the 200,000+ supporters who voted for the party on 11th May must demand an end be brought to them and their communities being used to further the agenda of a few self-serving leaders.
Local and regional governments when properly allowed to function with laws put in place to strengthen these institutions can realise the deepening of inclusionary democracy consistent with Article 13 of the Guyana Constitution. The PPP, the parties in the APNU and the AFC must allow these tiers of government to function and their communities given the opportunity to identify and elect their leaders.
PPP supporters are called on to agitate to the party leadership about the threatened denial of the opportunity and right to participate and be involved in the decision-making processes in their communities. Not to participate in local government elections is first to deny members and supporters the right to be effectively represented at the local level and moreso must be seen as a selfish act. For while the leaders are denying their own members and supporters the right to participate in making decisions in their communities, the said leadership is advancing arguments why they must be represented at a higher level.
What is being represented by Mr Rohee and others in the PPP leadership is that this issue is about them and their bruised egos, not about their supporters and those who voted for them and the well-being of their communities. 2015 must see growth in our politics and where national leaders fail to give the deserving leadership, supporters and members in the various communities must demand better from them.