by Stella Ramsaroop
(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 2 May 2006)
As I read over the Kaieteur News article about the AFC and Raphael Trotman in Sunday’s issue, I was struck by the notion that Guyana would do well to have another party or two to break up the political monopoly the PPP and the PNC/R have maintain for so many decades.
However, as I read over the columns of the same issue and saw the many opinions held by the various voices of Guyana, I was reminded of a very different type of group – the religious group.
I realise my apprehension to religion probably leads many people of faith to think it comes from ignorance of the subject. However, I have studied religion quite a bit. I was raised in a profoundly religious environment, went to a seminary type of school for a year and subsequently studied the foundational beliefs of various Christian sects with their leaders from the respective groups.
Aside from all of this class study, I have also studied on my own about the rise of various religions and the history of Christianity. One era of Christianity that I found to be interesting on a personal level was The Reformation led by Martin Luther.
Luther had no intention of breaking away from the long-standing Catholic Church. A whole new sect of Christianity simply developed when the Church refused to reform it’s less than “holy” practices. Then came another section, and another, and another, until today when there are too many sects to count and it seems like a new one pops up everyday.
Centuries later, mankind can look back at the 15th Century and pinpoint the splintering of Christianity into thousands of pieces. Before Luther nailed his Theses of 95 accusations against the Catholic Church to the doors of Wittenberg, Christianity was one entity under the Catholic Church. Therefore, if you did not believe like the Catholics believed, then you simply were not a Christian.
On one hand, this was a sad turn of events because it is easy to see in retrospect that the purity of the religion was lost at the same time, although many would argue that the Church lost its purity under the rule of the Catholic priests – and I would not argue. Even so, Christianity will never again be joined in a unified belief system.
However, is this a bad thing? With all of the various sects in just Christianity alone, not to mention all of the other religions in the world, it seems like there should be a belief to fit every person on the planet if they want to believe in a supreme being.
I know full well that most religions state that a person can only be saved through their religion and by their god, but I cannot help but feel that the reason there are so many religions, and so many sects within each of those religions, is because different people want to believe differently about their god.
Likewise, even though the people of Guyana are being told they must still believe in the long-standing political parties, it seems many are turning to other parties. A rise of new parties with a healthy support base is the best indicator of this phenomenon.
According to the aforementioned article from Sunday’s issue, “Kaieteur News was reliably informed that the recently commissioned poll showed that the AFC could win the equivalent of 16 seats on Parliament. This means that the vote in Parliament could split at least three ways, with the PPP/C and the PNCR taking up the majority of the other votes.”
The poll maintained that the AFC could garner up to 25 percent of the vote if elections were held right now. When the Catholic Church would not clean up its act, the people chose to find a religion that would. Now it seems that since the long-standing parties cannot get their acts together either, the people are choosing to find a party that will.
You have got to love democracy.
Mankind has a drive to see justice and to live in peace. It is often the rulers who decide to drag the people through a proverbial hell against the wishes of the people. Further, in time the people often choose to discard those stubborn rulers and replace them with other leaders who will be more compliant and trustworthy.
Guyana is no exception to this rule. They have given both of the long-standing parties a fair chance to prove they can run the nation. However, since both parties have instead run the nation into the ground and the people are ready to see a little heaven on earth within their lifetime – it seems like it is out with the old and in with the new.
This change will be good for Guyana. Can you imagine how controlling and manipulative religion would be if there was only one belief system from which to choose? The same holds true with political parties.
In short, the more choices people have, the better equipped they are to choose a party. When the other parties realise the people have a choice, they are more likely to submit to the will of the people.
I do not support any particular party, but I do like the fact that there are more choices for the people. I am certainly happy to see this new spirit rising in Guyana and I could not agree more with the results of the poll to mix things up a bit.