Each individual or group has a vote and a right to determine that vote based on their needs and perspective and this includes the right to freedom of association. This right when an election is over, and the government sworn in, does not create any right to deny any who did not vote for that government from involvement in the decision-making processes of this nation.
The principal political objective of this country mandates a system of “inclusionary democracy” as outlined in Article 13 of the Guyana Constitution. Under the constitution no government and no citizen has the prerogative to determine who will participate or be excluded (this includes the dull, the ignorant, and misguided). The ancestors of Guyanese fought for nationhood. No Guyanese must therefore allow themselves to be deprived of what their ancestors fought for, they inherited, have a duty to preserve, strengthen and bequeath to their descendants.
The initiator of the struggle for the right to vote (universal suffrage) and internal self-government was Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow Nathaniel and the trade union movement. As a trade unionist and citizen, I guard these not only for myself but for every citizen of Guyana. Voting and self-government allow for the right to freedom to associate, participate with and or vote for a party of choice, and when a new government is installed to meaningfully participate in ensuring good governance. The trade union’s vision was never to allow any group to be bystander (excluded) in the development of this country. Therefore, I continue to advocate for “inclusionary democracy” to take its rightful place i.e. at the centre in this nation’s development.
Whereas the responsibility for governance is that of those elected to the Executive and National Assembly, citizens have a corresponding responsibility to ensure every political operative function within the confines of the laws, respecting our rights, and managing the national resources in our best interest. This we must take seriously and execute without fear or favour.
Notions by any that if the group/party they voted for is not in the Executive, National Assembly or Regional Democratic Councils, this precludes them from involvement in any aspect of this nation’s development or they must remain silent to events of the state impacting their well-being, should be disabused. We are all Guyanese and the Constitution guarantees us the right to participation which we must zealously guard and defend.
To those advocating exclusion of others from involvement in the nation’s management and decision-making, on whatever pretext, such action is not only promoting discrimination and alienation of sections of society, but could eventually lead to destabilisation and social unrest. Purveyors of this attitude are reminded should similar treatment be meted out to them they will shout violation, demanding their rights be respected, and will be in order to do so.
The elections are over and petty partisanship must be put aside. It is time to govern wisely in the interest of all. Those who expressed their views during the election period, whether perceived to be right or wrong, were entitled to such, for all are equal participating members of society and the electoral process. None has the sole right to speak or participate at the exclusion of others. No group or citizen must be excluded from this nation’s development. One does not have to like a person, his views or politics to respect that person’s right to participate. Where the constitution already guarantees this it is the responsibility of all to respect and abide by.