Support for Opposition’s rejection of shared governance

Dear Editor,
There is overwhelming support for the Opposition political parties’ rejection of the proposed shared governance proposal of the ruling coalition as a solution to the political crisis.
The nation shares the view of the Opposition: that the coalition must first concede defeat, and then stop the endless intervention of the court to make rulings that would result in victory for the coalition.
People also recognise that this proposal for shared governance comes only after the coalition has realised that there is no avenue left to make a claim for an electoral victory. The highest court has ruled against the regime – only the Recount can be used to declare the outcome, and it shows that the incumbent coalition lost. It was prepared all along to govern alone, and even claimed victory. But now against the wall, it says there should be shared governance.
In general, power sharing is proposed for pluralistic societies like Guyana, so that one race does not become dominant. It has been a long-held position that, in a plural society like ours, one race-based party should not rule a country to the exclusion of other parties that represent other races. It is a recipe for instability, and even ethnic disturbance.
In Guyana, however, the 2020 election campaign was not over shared governance. And a case can also be made that the PPP received support from across the racial categories in order to get 51% support.
Preceding the election campaign, I appealed to the parties to embrace shared governance. I lamented that the political parties had failed to come up with a plan for shared governance that included all parties. There were no takers of the idea, except ANUG and other small parties. The PPP spoke about inclusive governance during the campaign, and now also say that after the swearing in, there would be inclusion of other parties in government formation.
In opposition, the APNU+AFC coalition spoke of inclusive and shared governance in 2015, but abandoned the idea when in Government. They hogged everything, and even alienated those who championed their cause and helped them to victory.
Since shared governance was not a campaign issue, it would be unprincipled to bring it up now, after defeat, as an opportunity to grab a bite of the mango. A country cannot reward a party that tried rigging its way into office. It would set a bad precedent for the future of democracy and good governance. It is also a terrible principle. It means one can be intransigent and/or rig elections and then demand to be part of a government.
Shared governance over time is inevitable. It would happen, and must happen by law. It is a positive development that the PPP has committed to the language of ‘inclusion’, and that the coalition now wants a piece of the mango instead of all of it, which it claimed on March 4 with a fraudulent count.
The PNC’s supporters should get a share of the mango, but this can come through legitimate representation in the PPP under inclusive government.
For any discussion on shared governance to proceed, the PNC must first concede defeat, end the judicial abuse, allow the declaration of the election results, and allow the swearing in of Irfaan Ali as the President — who has already been so deemed President as per the recount numbers announced by GECOM. After that, there can be discussions on inclusive governance. Laws can be passed to amend the constitution.
There is no reason why the PPP would not want to work with the other parties in a big tent arrangement to advance the development of the nation and to construct a constitution that serves the interest of the nation. The PNC should take note that all of the opposition parties have been united on their stance that “the coalition must concede before any other discussions take place”.
The PPP also said it would consider the idea of shared governance with the coalition, provided it ends its court shenanigans. The coalition should note that response from the minor parties and the PPP!
Guyanese are frustrated and want an urgent resolution to the political crisis. The country is suffering, with the economy shrinking and thousands losing their jobs since the election. The coalition should bring the election to closure. And the court must reject further appeals and filings on frivolous issues.

Yours truly,
Vishnu Bisram