There is no question that in democracies, political parties were institutionalized to represent the various “factions” that inevitably will have different positions on any given issue. But in the few hundred years of the modern era in democracy’s emergence from the ideas of the 5th century BC Greek City states, rules and conventions evolved to deal with the contingencies encountered. One of them is that while political parties are by definition “partisan”, their actions must be guided by the “greater good” of the country – and not only their specific constituencies.
Unless such a course is followed, while a party may win elections and govern their country, ultimately this would be tantamount to winning a battle but losing the war. And this would be a hollow “victory” indeed. Like Burnham’s practice of egomaniacal rule between 1964-1985 demonstrated, they would be ruling over Eliot’s “wasteland” of economic, political, social, psychological, and emotional collapse. We can do worse than begin with the method mutually agreed on to secure control over the state as adumbrated in our constitution. This was created by Burnham in 1980 and amended at the insistence of the PNC in 2000. The PNC cannot complain they were not involved in crafting the “rules of the political game”.
But it is they who insisted on breaking one of the most fundamental of those rules – the method of electing governments – from the very beginning. Elections and a referendum were rigged in 1968, 1973, 1978, 1980 and 1985. The ultimate results were predictable: Guyana was plunged from its position as one of the more advanced countries in the Caribbean to clinging by its fingernails just above of the international basket case of Haiti. It was not coincidental that a dictator also ruled that unfortunate pioneering country of liberty.
Ousted from office after free and fair elections in 1992, the PNC raised the “race card’ by claiming the PPP government was practicing “discrimination” in all areas of national life. And this, even though UN-conducted surveys demonstrated that poverty was reduced from the Burnham days and both African and Indian Guyanese benefited equally. They precipitated ethnic violence after they lost the 1997 elections claiming “rigging” by the PPP. They continued to do so even though a CariCom “forensic audit” proved them wrong. They then plunged Guyana into an orgy of violence in which the country became a killing field and hundreds were murdered.
After that frontal armed attack on the state was overcome, the country continued developing under the PPP as Guyana was reclassified from being a Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) to a Medium Income Level Country. Changing demographics and a long incumbency caused the PNC, under the fig leaf of an APNU/AFC coalition, to win the 2015 elections but once again their disastrous economic and social program caused then to lose the 2020 elections. But not before they created a dubious world record for having the longest (five months) transition for the new PPP government following their blatant attempt to rig the elections failed ignominiously.
Now out of office for two and a half years, they have resorted to Desmond Hoyte’s provocations about “racial discrimination” against African Guyanese. Rather outrageously, they have dubbed the government’s development program as creating an “emerging apartheid state” and have been instigating actions that destroyed the paradigmatic apartheid state in South Africa. One foray last year on the East Coast of Demerara resulted in racial attacks against Indian Guyanese vendors at Mon Repos, for which no one was prosecuted.
Now it would appear they have created a “cause celebre” at Mocha that would escalate racial hostilities. After the government had made concerted to develop that community, much to the PNC’s chagrin, the PNC persuaded seven of 38 squatters in the line of a new highway intended to relieve traffic congestion. In addition to explaining this public purpose, the government offered above market rate compensation, assistance for building new houses and land for cattle.
Now a total of six holdouts will be displayed to “prove” the government’s “racism” This is pure political opportunism.