Instant political parties: Newcomers and oldsters

What elections? Which ninety days?

Under-development in health care, sport

’Tis the Season! To “form a party”! Baby Party, Legal Party, People’s Party. Balance-of-Power Party.

Whether the Coalition – aided and abetted by legal authority – succeeds in staying general elections ‘til  the Jubilee and Oil-and-Gas year of 2020, or not, we Guyanese – interested or indifferent – will experience the phenomenon that is the birth of political parties. Some groupings won’t be transparent enough to deem themselves “parties”. They will be Non-Government (Civic) Organisations (NGO’s) seeking still, to lead, to represent, to influence.

From whence do they come? What is their real motivation? “Long-planned” or sudden? However dissatisfied, disillusioned with the major political behemoths in this land, the electorate must spare many moments to carefully scrutinize, analyse and study the personalities and “policies” of the newcomer groups offering real or perceived alternatives.

Those citizens, especially voters, who are yearning for real change, in term of political players and leaders who can be non-racist professional and country-first options, will easily indentify sustained dilemmas. Such as: why do these aspiring leaders decide to come forth at this specific time? What qualities do these new kids on the political block possess that are markedly different from the current dudes? What lessons can be learnt from recent third-party challengers, genuine aspirants and pretenders? Should there be still a welcome for the oldsters – many with baggage – to guide the new youthful with their experience and political “skills”?

All the above considerations should contend when the serious hopeful voter tries to settle on a new group. Within the context of the fact that even though our electorate many suffer from voter fatigue and sometimes be vulnerable to political brinksmanship and guile, they are savvy and “educated” enough to realise  the actual purpose, objectives of those seizing opportunities. But too often the yearning for expected change mesmerizes citizens to forget precedent. Just how did past third forces fare?  Or become?

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New/old kids on the block- so far

As posited in my paragraphs later below, we should disabuse our minds about any elections by the 90-day March 21. Court decisions or not, this country is not in the league wherein other countries can hold proper polls in short notice. Never! It is one of our everlasting blights we endure as a “democratic” society.

The above means, however, that because the Constitution dictates early elections as a result of a no-confidence vote, many ambitious change-agents and characters opted to come out perhaps somewhat earlier than first intended.

Who are they so far? Toshao Shuman had long planned his First People’s Party now dubbed Liberty and Justice Party. Despite the onslaught against Shuman by Vice President Nagamootoo’s Chronicle, I predict that this group will trouble the incumbents significantly on Polling Day. Does he have Canadian donors?

Friends will tell you that I love to use the expression “Fed-Up”. Now comes the Berbicians Federal United Party (Fed-Up). Comrade Charrandass’ attorney-pals are “trying a thing”. Doctor Jagdeo’s PPP will ensure that they waste their funds- is my prognostication. Who leads the Youth for Local Government party? Ras Leon, the veteran journalist, puts us on notice about his imminent Party and I’m told of two other baby parties about to vie and I might just attend today’s launch of ANUG- A New and United Guyana. How I wished that Leader Shuman and Comrades Ramkarran and Jeffrey would have launched their parties amongst some working-class folks at venues “humble”. But after the Georgetown Club it’s Moray House for ANUG this afternoon. Why do I think of Ramjattan and Trotman when I espy Ramkarran and Jeffrey?

And keep an eye out for those new NGO’s to join RISE and Policy Desk. Out of the woodwork they’ll emerge. Investigate real agendas!

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What? Elections? When?

Hey! Something must be wrong with old one-time-political me Why? I feel, Frankly Speaking, that even the PPP does not want elections early!

They want it badly but not so close to their recent local government triumph. The PPP is confident of topping what’s left of the Coalition. But wait! Now come these smaller threats but threats never-the-less. Of course APNU/AFC has every reason not to want elections now. Primarily because they want to prepare- budget projects, increases, improvements, national development, oil, their own funding- for 2020!

This country, being unlike other nearby States with larger electorates but which can call elections at any time, will never be ready for March 21, 2019. Court Decision or no Court Decision, His Excellency and his spokesman have already hinted about GECOM’s “administrative capabilities” and its “Operational readiness.” Constitutional and Statutory fulfilments have to be met- New (?) Lists, Registration (?) Nomination Day, etc, etc. Where? Here?

The current Budget allocated more than $5 Billion for the 2020 Elections. You- all feel that the powers-that-be will release that now!? So get ready for acrimony – and extensions if necessary. By July, say? Plus, his Excellency’s Chairman has to regain fit-and–proper health! His GECOM vote is Vital!

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Health care, truly national?

Any government will be forever challenged to facilitate basic requirements for a nation’s existence. Food, shelter, education are primary. Foremost too, of course, is health-care services.

People’s National Congress Chairperson, herself personally acquainted with health-and-well-being challenges, is our Minister of Health. She has my sympathy and some solidarity where our National Health System is concerned. Does she personally access local health care (specially)? If she does she will empathise with the dire circumstances her electorate endures.

I’ve always called for the (radical) upgrading of government hospitals, health clinics and outposts countrywide. That doesn’t seem possible/achievable.

Towards the end of last year. I read of plans to really upgrade four/five Regional Hospitals. Now I should be thrilled that my good-news Health Minister has just launched an $11M water ambulance for Region Seven. And a part of her giant 2019 Budget will fund electronic patient records for the Georgetown Hospital!

At Bartica Minister/Chairperson Lawrence declared that Bartica Hospital has “all the equipment and specialized staff… that can cater to… emergency interventions.” How I wish that is accurate. The referrals all the way to Georgetown continue unabated.

Third World under-developed nations always grapple with the challenges of (free?) Health care for all. I hope that any new (?) government continues this minister’s ambitious momentum. Even as our top politicians access the best health care overseas!

Next week I’ll discuss our decades-long governmental lapses in sport development.

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Interesting to ponder….

*1) until the Constitution is modified our “valued“ dual citizens can find numerous
      ways to contribute – outside of Parliament!

*2) For the nine years this column has called for justice in the case of the Muslim
     Sophia teacher and the case against him. Is it not time yet?

*3) Again I ponder: How is Barbados getting on without any Parliamentary
     Opposition?

’Til next week!

(allanafenty @yahoo.com)

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