In reality, there is a slow-moving “dressed up” coup with de facto power that is unlawful and illegitimate.
A very small multi-ethnic elite of unscrupulous middle class politicians, professionals and business people want to overturn the results of the free, fair and transparent recount of votes from the 2020 election.
To deflect from the real reasons for their electoral loss, this APNU+AFC elite are trying to fool their working class and poor members and supporters, from mainly one major ethnic community, into rejecting democracy. They covertly blame another major ethnic community for all the social and economic problems in the country. They are fostering a fear among their supporters that they will be excluded or marginalized from the promising oil revenues.
Now, we must be motivated more than ever to find solutions to Guyana’s most serious problem, that is, inter-ethnic rivalry. In the 2020 election, at least 95% of African voters supported the APNU/AFC and at least 95% of Indian voters supported the PPP/C.
The creeping dictatorship is using the rivalry to divide the nation, to co-opt opportunists, and to install provocateurs who will foster chaotic and undisciplined behaviour.
Some observers have optimistically stated that “many, many supporters have deserted the PNC”, and “except for a few who do not number more than the fingers on two hands, the APNU+AFC (PNC) elite has no following in the Diaspora”; and they “would find it extremely difficult to win even 25 seats in the 2025 elections”. We have to hope that these observers are right.
One observer proposed that overcoming “the ethnic enclaves will be surely helped by the policies that will be implemented by the future government of the PPP/C”.
Which policies? A public discussion of these policies is now the business of every member and supporter of the PPP/C and every other Guyanese. We have to be confident that the policies of the PPP/C will address the concerns, fears, expectations and needs of all ethnic communities, including the over two hundred thousand persons who voted for the APNU+AFC in 2020.
What we need are details and clarity. It is not sufficient for the leader of one Party to talk about joint government and the leader of the other Party to talk about inclusiveness, but both of these leaders have never demonstrated in action what they mean by joint governance and inclusiveness.
We are facing the possible consolidation of a dictatorship. How will we stop it and defeat it? Sanctions will help but the key will be non-violent actions to unite the general population. Strategically, we have to encourage APNU+AFC supporters to reject outright the dictatorship, or we have to support many APNU+AFC workers, professionals and business people to take a neutral position because they will be among the real losers under the sanctions, not the small multi-ethnic elite of riggers.
Most importantly, the democratic forces will have to win the hearts of our soldiers and police officers who want to serve all Guyanese and who do not want to be ordered to use force to repress or execute innocent people in any ethnic community.
Along with the political parties, civil society organizations must become equal actors on the Guyana “anti-dictatorial stage”. Elected trade unions, farmers’ organizations, business organizations, religious institutions, legal and medical associations, the University of Guyana and local think-tanks must all be involved.
Therefore, an anti-dictatorial movement will not be built by well-intentioned comments. The PPP/C will have to offer the better deal for a new political system that will implement inclusive governance and bring an end to unfair ethnic and class competition within and across all ethnic communities.
Immediately after the PPP/C is sworn in, there will be intense interest and encouragement from CARICOM, the OAS, the USA, the UK, the EU, and the Commonwealth for new governance measures to move Guyana forward. Former Chairwoman of CARICOM Mrs. Mia Mottley stated that, after the declaration by GECOM that the PPP/C won the election, “there must be room for all regardless of who wins and who loses”. We will have to welcome this as brotherly and sisterly love, and not protest that it is interference.
The main initiatives have to come, first of all, from us, ordinary Guyanese people within Guyana and in the Diaspora. We must first change our mindset and reject a destiny for “our dear land of Guyana” of political stalemates, unfair competition, persistent poverty and the continuous bouts of political insanity.
Then, we have to push and pull all of our female, young and male leaders, primarily from the working class and farmers, to sincerely and concretely work for national unity and equal economic opportunities for all ethnic communities.
Geoffrey Da Silva