Coali­tion gov’t broke con­tract with the peo­ple on gov­er­nance re­form, Ogun­s­eye look­ing for ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to ex­cuse it

Stabroek News Sunday - - REGIONAL NEWS -

Dear Editor, ‘My ques­tion, now that the PPP/C had strong show­ings and many vic­to­ries at the just con­cluded LGEs is that; is Jef­frey still op­ti­mistic that the re­sults of those elec­tions can be the ba­sis for mean­ing­ful shared gov­er­nance (SG) dis­cus­sions be­tween the two ma­jor par­ties?’ (‘Re­sults of lo­cal gov’t polls make like­li­hood of shared gov­er­nance talks even more re­mote:’ SN: 22/11/2018). After more than three years of the APNU+AFC govern­ment not mak­ing even a rea­son­able ef­fort to do what it promised to the elec­torate in 2015 with re­gard to con­sti­tu­tional change and SG , Jef­frey would be out of his mind to be ‘op­ti­mistic’ about its do­ing any­thing in this di­rec­tion now. What Jef­frey is cer­tain of is that it is the duty of the govern­ment to try and for sup­port­ers of SG such as Mr. Tacuma Ogun­s­eye to stop con­jur­ing up du­bi­ous ex­cuses for its in­ac­tion, and in­stead use their in­ter­ac­tion with it in a pos­i­tive man­ner.

As was to be ex­pected, Mr. Bhar­rat Jagdeo boasted that his party won some 120,000 votes at the 2018 lo­cal elec­tions. This is about 60% of the 202,656 votes it re­ceived at the 2015 na­tional elec­tions. As I in­di­cated in last week’s Fu­ture Notes, while APNU sup­port­ers have a great deal to be an­gry about, the PPP/C sup­port­ers have a great deal to try to pro­tect. They be­lieve (and the Guyana Elec­tions Com­mis­sion be­hav­ing prop­erly at low-level lo­cal govern­ment elec­tions proves noth­ing) that APNU+AFC rigged the last na­tional elec­tions and is pre­par­ing to do so again in 2020, and as such were mo­ti­vated to make the lo­cal elec­tions a test of their elec­toral su­pe­ri­or­ity. In that con­text, the PPP/C did not have a par­tic­u­larly strong show­ing. As tends to hap­pen at lo­cal elec­tions, all the par­ties suf­fered from low turnout and so, yes, the re­sults could be the ba­sis for a mean­ing­ful dis­cus­sion on SG for it is again a vis­i­ble demon­stra­tion of the ex­ist­ing po­lit­i­cal es­trange­ment SG is in­tended to solve. But Tacuma, you ap­pear de­ter­mined to seek out and utilise a no­tion about what the PPP/C wants or does not want to ex­cuse APNU and the WPA for not do­ing what they promised to do!

We have it here again: ‘I dis­tinctly re­call say­ing that the bad blood which flows be­tween the two forces post elec­tions, the PPP/C‘s in­sis­tence that the elec­tions have al­ways been rigged … and the ob­vi­ous tri­umphal­ism among APNU+AFC … coali­tion make ad­vo­cacy for shared gov­er­nance … wish­ful think­ing, since nei­ther side is re­ally in­ter­ested in that form of gov­er­nance’ (Ibid). Tacuma, the coali­tion had to win to be in a po­si­tion to make the re­forms, but in­stead of con­demn­ing its tri­umphal­ism, and re­quir­ing that it ful­fills its com­mit­ments, you are util­is­ing

its ex­u­ber­ance to ex­plain your per­sonal in­ac­tion!

Fur­ther­more, I am now hear­ing from a fighter who co­op­er­ated for years with the PPP to re­move the PNC that we must now wait un­til the PNC has rid it­self of its ex­cite­ment be­fore we can act? And now that the re­sult of the re­cent lo­cal govern­ment elec­tions must have knocked some of its spirit­ed­ness out of it, are you sug­gest­ing (para. one) that we can­not move for­ward be­cause of the tri­umphal­ism of the PPP? This is too good to be true: Wal­ter Rod­ney must be spin­ning in his grave!

On the is­sue of my not ex­plic­itly stat­ing that the pres­i­dent must con­sult, I pointed out that it is for the pres­i­dent to de­ter­mine if he needs to and whom is wor­thy of con­sul­ta­tion. It should be com­mon­place knowl­edge that mod­ern pres­i­dents must con­sult if they in­tend to be suc­cess­ful, and the fact that a sea­soned com­men­ta­tor such as Mr. Ogun­s­eye did not un­der­stand this is suf­fi­ciently im­por­tant to be the sub­ject of the next or a fu­ture? Fu­ture Notes. That aside, I was alarmed that given his stated com­mit­ment to SG, even if he felt that I should have in­sisted that the pres­i­dent con­sult spe­cific ac­tors, a fighter like Tacuma did not also use the oc­ca­sion of my in­ter­ven­tion to carry the fight to those who op­pose us rather than, based upon very du­bi­ous as­sess­ments, throw­ing in the towel!

So for what it’s worth let me re­state my po­si­tion. In ‘Why I sup­port APNU’ just be­fore the gen­eral and re­gional elec­tions in 2011, I stated that a ma­jor rea­son for my sup­port was that it has given pri­or­ity to ‘the es­tab­lish­ment of a Govern­ment of Na­tional Unity, (and) … Con­sti­tu­tional re­forms nec­es­sary for the re­al­i­sa­tion of Shared Gov­er­nance, … ‘dur­ing the first two years of the first term’ (SN: 16/11/2011). One week be­fore the 2015 elec­tions, I stated again ‘Let us hope that they (the PPP/C) are re­buffed, … If for no other rea­son, APNU+AFC and its man­i­festo ‘It is Time’, which makes a fun­da­men­tal com­mit­ment to gov­er­nance changes, hold a greater prom­ise of a bet­ter to­mor­row’ (SN: 06/05/2015).

With­out any proper ex­pla­na­tion, the coali­tion govern­ment has un­nec­es­sar­ily bro­ken its con­tract with Ogun­s­eye, me and all those who think that SG is the only sen­si­ble way for­ward. It did this be­cause Guyana does not have an ef­fec­tive pub­lic opin­ion: an ef­fec­tive way of hold­ing govern­ment ac­count­able. Maybe things are chang­ing, but for the time be­ing the vast ma­jor­ity of us be­lieve that to pro­tect our­selves we must vol­un­tar­ily re­lin­quish our in­di­vid­ual po­lit­i­cal will: the essence of our so­cial be­ing, to the lead­ers of the eth­nic col­lec­tive. These peo­ple could but have re­peat­edly not utilised the power we be­stowed upon them to es­tab­lish ar­range­ments that will lib­er­ate us for their tute­lage, and why should they? Given the na­ture of bu­reau­cratic or­gan­i­sa­tions, for all in­tents and pur­poses they have at their beck and call an en­tire pop­u­la­tion of ‘eth­nic po­lit­i­cal slaves.’ I, if not Ogun­s­eye, take ex­cep­tion to this. Yours faith­fully, Henry Jef­frey

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