Moving… across voters

It’s no secret – to put it mildly! – that our voting patterns are dominated by ethnic allegiances. And let’s not get into the blame game as to whether Jagan or Burnham started it with “vote fuh we own” campaigns. The “Apan Jhaat” trope is simply is a dog whistle signalling Jagan was the culprit!! In every society where ethnic identities have solidified, when democracy was introduced, folks voted ethnically! When JFK was elected in 1961, it was the ethnic Irish votes in places like Chicago that put him over the top.
But since democracy means getting over 50% of the votes to secure the prize of power, it’s also recognised that politicians will try all sorts of stratagems to get “cross-over votes” – unless, of course, “their” group is a majority. Which it was here up to the 90s when Indian Guyanese could vote in the PPP if they voted monolithically. But those days are long gone and – as we saw in 2011, 2015 and 2020 – the name of the (political) game is to attract those cross-over votes. By whatever means necessary!!
But we’re witnessing a dangerous development that seeks to delegitimise such efforts as “undermining” democracy!! So your Eyewitness wonders if democracy means folks must continue to vote along ethnic lines and not for – for example – policies they think will redound to their benefit!! While the critics don’t put it this bluntly, what we’re seeing right now is that the PPP’s being criticised with all sorts of slurs, because they are specifically targeting the traditional PNC base of Afro-Guyanese – to ensure they benefit from their present drive to “feed, house and clothe” the nation!!
One critic has gone as far as accusing some members of the latter demographic as “betraying” their people by acting as “slave catchers”!! Alluding, of course, to those African tribes who captured other Africans and sold them into slavery to the Europeans!! Can you believe that?? Now there’s no question that in democratic politics there’ve been “boondoggles” – wasteful projects done just to attract voters – as the Yanks call them. But your Eyewitness is flummoxed as to how sharing out house lots or cash grants for schooling, etc, can be seen as wasteful – yet doling out $1,000,000 annually to every Guyanese family isn’t!!
So what to do to get the +50% of votes to give a political party the legitimacy to rule? There are some basic rules that have been worked out over the last couple of hundreds of years. First, it’s a judgement call as to whether offering handouts can be seen as offering bribes – as long as actual money isn’t doled out as folks troop to the polling booths!!
In the meantime, introduce campaign spending laws that all agree to!!

Your Eyewitness read about the vendors being removed from in front of Demico House and the first thought that flashed in his mind was, “How many times, Jah?!!” He remembers at least a dozen times there were weeping and wailing from the vendors as they were moved from their illegal occupation of the Demico pavement. This time – following up on Muneshwers’ successful recourse to the Courts to order the City Council – DIH followed suit and voila! – one could see clearly now that the stalls were gone!!
One could also see the drains that had been covered – filled to the brim with plastic bottles and God knows what!! No need to fear being mugged!! But to be frank, your Eyewitness doesn’t expect this state of affairs to last very long. Why? Well, for the same reasons explained above.
The politicians seeking to control the City Hall’s purse, will do whatever it takes for those vendors’ votes!!

…on up!!
Who said the small man – and woman – can’t become the real man – and woman? IPED – the Institute of Private Enterprise Development – which intermediates micro loans –- announced they disbursed 4881 loans valued at $4.3 billion. This contributed to the creation and maintenance of 8655 jobs!! Onward…upward!!