The citizens of Guyana have endured long a bitter undemocratic rule (1968-1992) under the People’s National Congress. Economic and social decay pervaded the nation, which became paralyzed by the pure mismanagement of the state’s resources, coupled with an outright disregard for opposition parties, private enterprise, as well as individual rights and liberty. The dark rule of the People’s National Congress was brought to a much-anticipated end, as the Peoples Progres-sive Party/Civic secured a resounding and conclusive victory on October 5, 1992.
The Peoples Progressive Party/Civic ascent to power was recorded as the first free and fair elections in a post-independent Guyana. For the first time in 24 years, citizens were able to dream, aspire and carve out a future that was truly Guyanese. Private enterprise was encouraged to organize, and the political parties were viewed as valued competitors, rather than enemies of the state. The Peoples Progress Party/Civic inherited an economy that was in poor financial health, along with a disillusioned and bewildered population, and transformed it into a prosperous nation in a matter of 23 years. The Peoples Progressive Party opened Guyana to the international system by rekindling diplomatic relations with our traditional partners, and much needed financial assistance from the Bretton Woods institutions.
Post-May 2015 has seen the return to the dark days of the Peoples’ National Congress through the piloting of an A Partnership for National Unity brand, along with an Alliance for Change co-brand. The Peoples’ National Congress has never been open to democratic values and principles, and went to great length to exercise total control of the economy. Autocratic rule and elitism followed the politicization of government institutions and agencies, as well as the militarization of the state, all central to the domination of the economy, by the then Peoples’ National Congress administration (Burnham1968-1985, Hoyte 1985-1992).The Peoples’ National Congress party sought this route, since it was inevitable from its very formation (1957) that a clean and fair victory against the People’s Progressive Party was unrealistic. The People’s Progressive Party/Civic philosophy continues to be (PPP 1950-1992, PPP/C 1992-present) underpinned by the advancement of the economic and social well-being of the ordinary citizen. To this end, the People’s Progressive Party fought tirelessly for the collective voice of the masses be heard, and the unfettered exercise of their free will. The People’s Progressive Party has stimulated and nurtured a democratic culture during its 23 years in government, which has allowed for the participation of every citizen in the political process. As anticipated, the Peoples’ National Congress-led coalition government has carefully orchestrated a reversal to an undemocratic political system.
Authoritarianism is back. The Granger led administration is fixated in the belief and practice of government from above. As would be recalled, since this coalition government took office in 2015, they have been exercising their authority regardless of popular consent. The appointment of the Gecom Chairman, interference in the Police Service Commission, discontinuing of the Amaila Hydro Falls Project, and the secretive signing bonus from ExxonMobil, are but a fraction of the examples which can be used to explain the authoritative nature of this government, led by none other than the President himself.
President Granger’s autocratic style goes against the grain of the democratic culture the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic helped to cultivate and nurture.
Guyanese have enjoyed a stable political environment under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic, and the collective voice of the private sector, civil society, and the masses indicate that our democratic values are being eroded by the Granger-led coalition government.
This must be taken very seriously by the people of Guyana, since an undemocratic political system will destroy the economy and each citizen’s life and livelihood will be negatively impacted. The people of Guyana must now organize themselves to ensure their democratic rights and privileges are not denied in the political process.
President Granger is no stranger to the People’s Progressive Party/Civic. The party is aware of his unwavering loyalty to the Burnhamite philosophy. President Granger is carefully crafting his manipulation of the consent of the masses. Citizens should not be fooled; the iron law of oligarchy has been reborn under the Granger-led administration. The current administration is authoritarian, with an elitist political view, as President Granger seeks to consolidate his power.
The march of autocratic leaders cannot be halted, unless citizens get involved. Let us get involved in the political process and influence decision making at all levels of government.
Juan Edghill, MP