This is a time for leadership on all sides for the sake of our Guyana

This is a time for leadership on all sides for the sake of our Guyana

Dear Editor,

Like many Guyanese, I strongly condemn all acts of violence, intimidation, racial slurs and threats carried out by supporters of the two main parties at this tense time in our nation. The call is to both the APNU+AFC and the PPP/C to firmly restrain their supporters and likewise condemn such actions. It is reprehensible for school children and villagers and security forces to be attacked or threatened in any way. The leaders of both main political parties APNU+AFC and PPP/C must go themselves to any location where such incidents are taking place and stop them immediately and decisively.

This is a time for leadership on all sides for the sake of our Guyana.

The only call now to be made is for peace, calm, patience and maturity so as to allow legal elections processes to be carried out and completed.

Whoever wins – the first call will be to include the one that loses in an urgent bi-partisan reform of GECOM and for necessary Constitutional Reform – which both APNU+AFC and PPP/C promised and which neither ever fulfilled.

With all that has unfolded the “winner take all” electoral outcome has to be categorically ended – and Constitutional processes and mechanisms put in place to allow for citizens of all ethnic groups (regardless of party affiliation) to be equitably included in the decision-making, benefit-sharing and in all key aspects of the social, political and economic processes of government. This is also enshrined in the Constitution of Guyana in Article 13. But consistently ignored by whoever “wins” political power and “governs” the country.

What we see unfolding before our eyes is the poison that emanates, in a heightened way, from the recurring contest between two forces – hell-bent on “winning” power – at the expense of our nation. Being drawn into foolish political, largely race-based camps, with hatred and fear stitched into the fabric – for winner and loser, alike – is a recipe for disaster. It has to be stopped in its tracks now.

Guyana needs a chance to breathe and grow and enter into a mature, inclusive and gender-equal rights-based administration that allows for good governance to prevail.

We have never really enjoyed such a political or governmental climate.

Let the voices of reason from the ground-swell of smaller parties and from citizens, civil society and NGOs of all colours, creeds and ethnicities have a chance to be heard loud and clear – above the usual noise and posturing of the two main parties.

Guyanese citizens need to clear their own collective throats and speak truth to power. Take collective action and find the best mechanism for starting Constitutional Reform and GECOM Reform on our own terms. We own this country (and all its resources) No Government does! Let’s think outside the closed box: that only the Government or a defunct Parliamentary Committee can move our Constitution forward. We have power as Guyanese people. Let’s get an energetic move forward without the shackles of any political party affiliation. Post elections: Let us and our organisations take our Constitution and our GECOM system into our hands and really make them both work for us. Why not? We own both.

As a nation, we are now 50+ years old. Let’s grow up. Let’s take wise and meaningful action.

Time is now!

Yours faithfully,

Vanda Radzik

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