Guyana needs professional help to overcome its practice of ethnic politics

Guyana needs professional help to overcome its practice of ethnic politics

Dear Editor,

With due respect to all advocates of Shared Governance (SG), that’s how it should be: Winner takes all. It is designed to foster competition among political parties – to win support in all constituencies. If a party falls short of the required 51% to take power, it must be allowed to form a post-elections Coalition. This has been a tested principle that works well for a hundred years.

(1) Let’s imagine a society with two racial groups- A & B. Two ethnic parties emerge. A is 60% of the population. Of course, A will always win; B would be seething – and B would be planning and instigating ethnic unrest.
The lesson pundits draw from the above scenario is to advocate SG. I tend to agree, but wait a minute. What happens if the two groups do mix in the cultural sphere, celebrate each other’s festivals, play cricket together, drink together in the rum shops, their political parties do have members of the alternate race group?

WHY must their parties still be perceived ethnic? Why are they drawing so low percentages of cross-racial voting? Herein lies the solution to the problem. Party A (Indian) must elect an African to be their leader (Nunes, Brindley Benn, Ashton Chase, Juan Edghill, Luncheon). This act shall change the politic dynamic. Deep changes in the consciousness of all races will take place. Party B (African) must do the same. It is a very practical solution to the problem.

(2) Concepts of SG or Inclusive Govt. (IG) will not work. None of the parties wants it anyway. A waste of time discussing it.
(3) Actual situation. Indians (PPP) are no longer 51% or 60% of the population. They are 38 – 39%. They won significant cross-racial votes. Hence, the rationale for SG or IG does not exist anymore. The perception still exists that PPP is Indian. This perception problem cannot be wished away. Let PPP go figure out how to change that tagged-perception. Certainly, they would make no progress – if they insist on Indians only must be their presidential candidate. The other side (Africans) controls all the organs of the State – police, army, bureaucracy – and stands poised at the gates ready to throw the PPP out. PPP absolutely needs to be perceived as a genuine multi-racial party, if only to mitigate the hostility coming from the African side.

(4) SG and IG are not the solutions for what ails Guyana’s race politics. The solution lies in outlawing ethnic parties. ABC and EU countries must perform an enlightened mediator’s role – to “gently nudge” both parties to become genuinely multiracial.

Guyana has other problems. Deep-state factors are deeply embedded in all organs of the State. (It’s not only in GECOM – but in every organ of the State). It is as if Guyana’s landscape is not conducive for the practice of democracy: Rule of Law and Free and Fair Elections. Even the Courts have been affected with pro-PNC deep state factors. To transform Guyana into a Rule of Law State requires a lot of work. Only help from ABC and EU and Singapore can help effect that transformation. There is no way Guyana’s fractured society can do it on its own.

Mike Persaud

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