Elections are to be held in about one year. Already, we see the long queue getting set for the hustings. I have just lost count of how many political parties we have either registered or have indicated an interest in contesting those elections.Read My Response
But there is a 'favoured' few who get special attention from sections of the media. These elements are singled out for extensive coverage and even full access to the airwaves or the newspaper columns. This reflects an emerging trend (in our context) where owners/publishers are directly supporting political parties and leaders. There is nothing legally wrong with this exercise, but it is an act that does not bode well for the journalistic profession. This form of endorsement has caused these media houses to hype their political preferences and consequently attempt to ‘tear-down’ their adversaries. In this case, the PPP/C administration.
Many individuals have written or queried the motive for the hype about a particular group or certain individuals. We read long stories and even columns given by a few media establishments to these opposition political operatives, especially those who call themselves `the Third Force,’ now rebranded the Alliance for Change. Newspaper and television station owners are well within their right to make space available to whom they see fit. They should declare publicly their preference and the reason for the undue hype about certain elements.
There is not only hype by sections of the media in relation to the Third Force. This particular political excursion is turning out to be a political hoax of monumental proportions.
The whole thrust of the Third Force is based on three strands: commitment to change, newness of political players, and support among young people. It would be instructive if we examine these planks. Those who advocate change have not suggested anything new on how they will achieve this change. The only change they seek is to remove the PPP/C administration. No coherent, different or thought-out plan or vision for Guyana has been presented. The same hackneyed, worn-out slogans and phrases are being uttered, devoid of true content and irrelevant to our national needs. All the public has been hearing of is more of the same old attacks against the PPP/C which are being employed by the Opposition.
This then leads to the other plank - newness of political players. Every single player in the Third Force has been in the political fray for no less than a decade. The two main activists – Trotman and Ramjattan - have served in the leadership of the PNCR and PPP, respectively. They were with these parties for a long time and helped shape and implement the policies and programmes. The others were all political activists in and around the PNCR, WPA and ROAR at some time. There are efforts by their friends in sections of the media to do an image make-over and present the players as new. They were all opposed to the PPP/C at some point in time. The Third Force cannot show a single new political face.
And the third plank has been the supposed appeal to young people. Our young people are sensible and seriously care about the future of this country. Several days ago, Ann Stone, an electoral personality brought by the US embassy for two workshops, related how impressed she was about the enthusiasm, intellectual capacity and willingness to be part of this country by our young people. She further said that contrary to views being peddled, there is little or no desire among young people to cut and run. It is this reality the Third Force’s proponents are facing. I wish to remind them that being young does not mean one is mindless. The only ones busy talking about the Third Force are those who have been politically spent. A friend of mine known for his wit remarked that they look like the `spent force.’
Not making any in-roads, those behind the Third Force are telling their handlers of much public and financial support. Where is this support in Guyana other than the organised and managed reports in sections of the media?
On the whole, the attitude of the PPP/C has been to ignore these elements who pose no political threat. Further, I respect their right to seek public office and make full use of the democracy which this government has restored and nurtured. The more political parties, the more ideas we have before the public is a good sign that our democracy is healthy. We have today even the right to commit a hoax. However, those who do so will also have to face the consequences.
Those of us tasked with keeping the public au fait with national issues must do our part to ensure that the citizenry is kept abreast. Even if we have to expose a naked hoax being carried out on the nation by a few with their own agenda. The ordinary Guyanese know this plot, but the gullible elements here and overseas who only gauge the national mood from newspaper reports should be brought into the reality frame. People are increasingly aware of this particular hoax.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Hoax! - Robert Persaud
Here's Robert Persaud's column from the Kaieteur News today. This definitely merits a response.