When the coalition came to power in 2015, it was supposed to usher in a new political dispensation. One vastly different from the twenty-three years of PPP rule. One where deepening democracy and social cohesion would transform the Guyanese society. At least this was the impression that President Granger and his political partners gave the nation. It was not supposed to be politics as usual.
In the two years of the APNU+AFC coalition’s rule, it seems like its politics as usual. The President’s latest action of unilaterally selecting the GECOM chairperson is one more act of politics as usual. It is not that the President acted unconstitutionally in this case, as some have argued, it is that the President’s action betrays that promise of promoting trust among the Guyanese people. Unilaterally selecting a GECOM Chairman does nothing for inclusivity. In fact, it marginalizes large portions of the Guyanese society.
More importantly, one wonders about the president’s strategy in this action. It has to be taken into consideration that the coalition won the last election by a slim majority. The interpretation was that after 23 years of the PPP’s egregious acts and corrupt governance that the society remains extremely polarized. Therefore, it is incumbent on the coalition to govern in such a way that they would seek to expand their base. There is an inherent ethnic mistrust that exists in some parts of society relating to the President’s party and elections. The president should be mindful of this mistrust and create the space for political reassurance. The politics of social cohesion is a means of political reassurance. The President promised it and created the ministry to facilitate it. The President’s latest action is contrary to this vision he espouses and only deepens the division.
Moreover, the PPP’s twenty-three years of ineptitude, mismanagement and corruption is still fresh on the minds of the Guyanese citizens. Jadgeo as opposition leader has no credibility in a large section of the population. However, the current administration cannot take this for granted and believe that they can simply retain the crossover votes that put them into power. This is what makes the President’s action so puzzling. Elections in Guyana are always treated with suspicion.
As such, the president cannot chide Jadgeo for presenting a defective list yet himself choose someone not only with affiliation to his own party, but whose age reinforces the perception of youth marginalization in the society. This does nothing for political reassurance.