(Originally published in the Kaieteur News on 22 Dec 2005)
As mentioned in a previous column, I have always believed there was something inside Raphael Trotman that drives him to do good – and he has proven this to be true by stepping down from his seat in Parliament.
It did take him two months to reconcile his conscience, or fight with his party to do the right thing, I’m not too sure which one it was – though I suppose that it was a little of both. The AFC’s official launch was on October 29 and Trotman has agreed to give up his seat on December 27.
Let there be rejoicing in the streets! This is absolutely a reason to get our groove on, so I’m putting on my dancing shoes to join in with the rest of the revellers. There is goodness and righteousness in Guyanese politics! Let the nation sing for joy!
Moreover, if Trotman has relinquished his seat despite the fact that the other two in the Gang of Three continues to hold tight to theirs, that means he also has the internal fortitude to stand his ground on principled matters. Right now I am simply beaming with pride that Raphael Trotman is in Guyanese politics.
When I read about Trotman’s decision to relinquish his seat, I stood up, back straight, head tilted up and clapped my hands together with a big smile on my face as if I had just seen the best live showing of the Nutcracker. This is a man to whom respect is due.
I know there are probably many confused faces right now. After all, I gave these MPs a lot of trouble about their decision to retain the seats they acquired through other parties and it wouldn’t make sense that I would now say one of them is deserving of our respect.
However, I also said from the start that I am looking for good men and women in Guyanese politics who will do the right thing regardless of the pressure to do otherwise. Trotman has proven to be one of those men and has thus gained my respect.
I really wish he hadn’t agreed to share his presidential seat with Ramjattan because I would love to see someone like Trotman leading Guyana for an entire term. Imagine what a good person with some backbone could do for the country if he had the time. A couple years just isn’t long enough at all.
Does this all mean that I now support the AFC? Nope, not at all. It means I have found what I was looking for – someone with integrity who cares more about Guyana and its people than about his/her own interests and agenda. What I would like is to see more of these people emerge and then for them to all come together in a coalition.
As for Trotman, I now hope to see him establish a solid platform for the AFC that includes the party’s stance on the pertinent national issues of crime, economic stability and growth, infrastructure revitalisation, women’s issues, education, etc. The excuse of keeping their ideas quiet out of fear that another party might steal their good ideas is a bit peculiar.
If they do have some good notions on how to turn the country around, they should let everyone know so we can take them seriously as party for the next year. If in the process another party filches their good ideas, then it would be all the better for Guyana and the people that decent stratagems with actual merit are being kicked around for a change.
For example, how does the AFC plan to combat crime in Guyana should they actually win the elections next year? The PPP has failed miserably at this and the PNC has been no great help either. I would like to see a comprehensive and practical strategy that can be implemented from the very first week.
I would also like to see the AFC reach out to their female constituency. The new legislation on domestic violence is a start, but it falls short in implementation and enforcement. Further, there needs to be a plan to expand the present female representation in government to be more inclusive, and therefore more representative of the actual national population.
The AFC should also present the nation with an economic scheme that is contemporary and forward-looking. The same-old, stuck-in-the-mud (literally with all of the recent flooding) fiscal strategies are dated and have no place whatsoever in today’s information age.
The AFC is casting itself as an agent of change and a friend to the young people; as such, it needs to prove this with a platform that is modern and compatible with the rest of the advancing world. Their policies should be progressive and pliable to keep pace as overall international economic stimulants change. This is something that has been sorely absent in Guyana thus far.
I wish Trotman luck as he establishes the AFC’s platform. It would be nice to see Ramjattan and Holder relinquish their seats too. It would be great to see a party rise up that has no ties with the former failures and the stigma that is attached to those old parties. But I just don’t see that happening.
Raphael, have a great holiday season and get ready to show the nation what you are made of in the coming year – a year that is sure to be a whirlwind of fun.