Messrs. Eusi Kwayana and Moses Bhagwan are two of the most patriotic Guyanese around today – two giants who have served this country with little recognition and even less reward. Their feature column `Whoever wins this election, Guyana loses’ (SN 10-3-20) deserves some attention.
The WPA from its birth always favoured power sharing although at times it has had difficulty with selling the practicability of the philosophy. The WPA had a proud history of embracing constitutional changes to make Guyana a better place. Its recommendations to the Constitutional Reform Commission of the late nineties remain important contributions to our political discourse. But the WPA has morphed into something that should make Kwayana and Bhagwan think twice.
As a member of the APNU+AFC Coalition, the WPA was quite comfortable in excluding the party that won 49.8% of the votes while the Coalition parties – including the WPA – went on a spree to provide jobs for their top brass in the Ministries and entities they controlled. It was division of the spoils in the crudest manner. In Government, the WPA stood aside as the Constitution was treated with disdain. It laughed at the manner in which a Motion of No Confidence was rendered nugatory for more than one year, saw the unconstitutional appointment of James Patterson as Chairman of GECOM and participated in an elections campaign in which the use of state resources was seen as an incident of “incumbency”.
In a working people’s government, the WPA willingly accepted the abolition of the Labour Ministry, had little to say in defence of thousands of sugar workers sent on the breadline by the Government and has been silent on corruption by members of the Coalition. Most egregiously, the WPA’s APNU+AFC Coalition set about over almost two years to systematically rig the 2020 elections in collusion with key GECOM officials.
Even making allowance for their distance from Guyana and the undertones of its politics, Kwayana’s and Bhagwan’s silence as their comrades participated in the assault on the constitution, the laws, accountability and transparency makes their call less effective than it might be. Exceptional is their description of the defence of the integrity of statements of poll as “disruptive tactics”. As far as I know the WPA of old was quite prepared to go even further to defend ballot boxes, to have free and fair elections and to have their votes counted.
Kwayana and Bhagwan have nothing to gain by an excess of diplomacy, which is anyway, alien to the elder whose famous words were “this confounded nonsense must stop.” The least I expected Kwayana and Bhagwan to do was to call on Granger to concede graciously rather than put young people and the country through this mess of the APNU+AFC’s making. To tell him and their friends in the Government not to create further confusion but to create the conditions whereby the PPP/C and the APNU+AFC, along with the rest of society, can operate more maturely in the interest of the Guyanese people rather than just sharing out Ministries on a “one for you and one for me” basis.
Instead of the gridlock of power-sharing, let us have responsible Government, accountability and transparency, political party reform, campaign finance reform, pro-poor policies, attention to the aged and powerless and selfless duty that has marked the lives of Kwayana and Bhagwan. To them I say Hail up.