(Originally published in the Kaieteur News on 15 Nov 2005 and Caribbean Feedback, December 2005)
This morning I took some time to project myself into the shoes of a Guyanese woman next year right before election time. The reason for this exercise was to help me determine if I felt any of the current parties deserved my vote.
At the present time, the pickings are slim. I like Jagdeo, but his party has far too much corruption (and that is my own perception – not a report), so they do not deserve the trust of the people to return to office again. There are many other reasons for not choosing the PPP, but the corruption is my primary reason.
The PNCR, as an opposition party, has done very little substantially for the people and has a multiple personality disorder. It is almost like they are double-minded about the race issue – one day they speak out against the atrocities that are spawned by racial hate and the next day they are supporting the same atrocities and racial hate.
The PPP does this too, which is why neither party would get my vote. I truly believe the only way Guyana will be able to reach its full potential as a country is to rid itself of race-based politics. In fact, I see race-based politics and corruption as the two factors that prevent Guyana from being a serious economic contender in the world.
I am a forward thinker who refuses to live in the past. As such, I cannot see this nation moving beyond its sorted history of racial violence until it is willing to cut out the instigating forces of racial dissonance. More than any other aspect of Guyanese society, the politicians have been the forces that promote racial hate.
Likewise, it is more than obvious that the racial fear caused by these same politicians is the rope by which they keep the people of Guyana tied to their racially segregated parties. This rope has become Guyana’s noose and for as long as we believe their lies, the noose will remain around our necks.
Therefore, after rejecting the two primary parties from consideration for next year’s election, I must now find a viable option that will have the integrity and intelligence to jolt Guyana out of this sad state of poverty and move it forward economically.
Here is a list of the more vital expectations I want from the next administration:
- A comprehensive economic plan to seriously reduce poverty. I believe the economic state of the nation to be paramount since it influences other aspects of society, such as crime and corruption. I do not want a bunch of hype, I expect a strategy that has merit – including which areas of the economy would be the focus of job creation and which areas would receive less attention due to the changes in market value.
- A scheme to systematically overhaul the law enforcement and judicial systems, which would include introducing a plan for consistent transparency and accountability. A functioning checks and balance system needs to be instituted to combat the rampant crime should include jail time for conspirators against the interests of the justice – such as informants and those who accept bribes. There needs to be tougher laws, an untainted and competent police force and judges who are willing to impose strict sentences in a judicious and consistent manner.
- A foreign policy that encourages imports and exports with our neighbouring countries in South America and the Caribbean. I would like to see Guyana’s borders open, but only when they can also be protected. In the current state, one cannot expect to open our borders without also allowing the drug business to take a greater hold. A serious border patrol is a necessary aspect of an open and free market. Guyana needs an infusion of outside money to spark its economy to life. There is not enough money in the nation to spread around, and what money is here is invested in the grand homes of the politicians. This is why we need to inject the flow of some fresh foreign money into our stale economy.
- It is time the women of Guyana had a party that champions the rights of their half of the nation’s population. Hardly a day goes by without the media reporting another woman being victimised somehow in this nation. Then once she has already suffered from rape, abuse or even death – the current system provides little or no means of restitution or help to escape. How on earth does a little girl of 14 end up in jail because she is afraid to go home and there is nowhere else in the country that is safe for her? Where are the legislators and politicians to stand up for the women of Guyana?
Of course, there is more that I would like to see from the next party – like integrity and a drive to put the best interests of the people before selfish ambition. With this in mind, I am not too sure the AFC is the right party either. They have clearly shown their predisposition to dogmatically and defiantly act exactly the opposite of what the people want.
If I were a Guyanese woman walking to the voting booth today, I would find it heart wrenching to choose from these listed parties. I know there are other parties to choose from as well, and I suppose that is what I would do, but I want to know that my vote is going to make a difference – after all, I do have to somehow counteract all of those phantom votes thrown in by the PPP.
Is there nobody in Guyana who can provide the voters with a viable choice for the next elections? Come on now! Surely there is someone out there who can do better than these miserable choices. Give me something to sink my teeth into. Give me something to believe in. Somebody, please give this nation a party that is worthy of serving the people of Guyana. Please.