Guyana can ill-afford another ‘small party’ experiment in 2020

Dear Editor,
M Maxwell has engaged in unpalatable ethnic-based campaigning as he seeks to champion the cause of a segment of the population he described as ‘mixed-race’, in so doing Maxwell characterises the majority of Guyanese society as racial. Maxwell said “The unequivocal trend in the last two censuses show the mixed-race ethnic group is the fastest-growing in Guyana”, Maxwell may want to consider from whence the ‘mixed-race’ population sprung before he labels their parents in such an irresponsible manner.
All of the political parties contesting the upcoming elections have signed the Ethnic Relations Commission’s Code of Conduct but they are not the only persons expected to abide by those rules. I expect the media monitoring arm of the ERC will have something to say on this missive soon enough. Maxwell’s characterisation of the PPP and APNU/AFC as “race giants” and his statement that “…the raw ethnic tribalism on display from the PPP and the PNC arm of APNU in this election season…” shows that he (Maxwell) is out of touch and has probably not gone to a single meeting or rally held by the PPP/C during this campaign and is using creative license to perpetuate a stereotypical narrative. It is untrue and should M Maxwell have any evidence to the contrary, it should be provided to the ERC forthwith.
A case for any political party or group can/should be made based on the vision; views; expertise; a record of performance; abilities and the character of their candidates and/or leaders. Does the party have a plan for Guyana’s future and can it, for example, translate those words on paper into bridges over rivers? Or will they become bogged down with endless prevarication and feasibility studies? All ethnicities have suffered equally under the present Government, and all Guyanese are looking for the best possible representation in the future.
Who better to represent the people than the largest multi-ethnic party in the country? The PPP/C remains the best hope for all Guyanese; it has a national platform where all races and creeds are represented. The PPP/C has an enviable track record of performance and delivery of promises; having moved the country from the poorest in the hemisphere in 1992 (HIPC) to freedom from IMF control in 2006 to a point where the airport was being enlarged and modernised for positioning as a hub, an international hotel was constructed (Marriott) and tourism was on the way to becoming another pillar of the economy, the bridge over the Berbice River was built and one over the Corentyne linking Suriname was envisioned.
All parties can make their pitch to the public in hopes of support; to do so based on ethnicity is intellectually lazy, inherently racist and morally wrong. The often expressed view that better governance would be achieved if smaller parties held seats in ‘a balance of power’ is a fallacy as proven when the AFC held the balance and used it to stymie progress, cut budgets and end important infrastructure projects such as the Specialty Hospital and the 160 MW Amaila Falls Hydropower Project. The irony of David Patterson hustling a deal for a 47MW power generator with Wartsila on the eve of elections is not lost on many; the chickens of his ‘small party’ actions have come home to roost. Guyana can ill-afford another ‘small party’ experiment in 2020.

Robin Singh