by Stella Ramsaroop
(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 9 May 2006)
There is a definite renewed buzz in the Diaspora since the announcement of Dick Morris' appointment as campaign manager for the AFC. After months of a pessimistic outlook about the upcoming elections, it seems that at least the Guyanese in the States are becoming very optimistic that there could be a very real possibility of political change.
One thing is for sure; the introduction of a player like this into the game will change politics in Guyana. I am from the Midwest and we are known for being very resistant to any type of change, but even I can see that the inevitable change that could come by this new development is a good one.
I do not think there is anyone who would not agree that almost every aspect of politics in Guyana should change. From the election process to the arrogance of whatever party is ruling during that term.
However, the Dick Morris factor changes one of the most important aspects – if not the most important one – the forgone assumption that the PPP will win the next elections. In fact, this one aspect changes all other aspects and creates a completely new political climate.
It is certainly heartening to see that a third party seems to be taking their contention for governing seriously enough to bring in a proven political strategist. It is events such as this that keeps every single one of us hanging on to the last bit of hope that we have for the future of Guyana.
The fact that so many people, inside and outside of the nation, love Guyana and refuse to give up on her is one of the best indicators that this country will not buckle under the pressure of the criminal-minded drug lords or those leaders who would use the people of the nation instead of serve them.
Up to this point, I am sure there have been a handful of times when the AFC has caused its political opponents to slightly worry that this third party might be THE third party that could upset the political status quo.
However, I think this new development will cause every single PPP and PNC/R politician to really begin fretting over losing a hefty portion of the party's respective constituency. If they are not worried as yet, then it might be wise to start worrying because the AFC has just changed the game completely.
My initial gut reaction was to be suspicious of Morris' ability to reach the deeply rooted fears of the Guyanese people, such as the ongoing racial division perpetuated by the long-standing political dinosaurs. Mr. Morris should know that this issue should be at the forefront of his mind at all times because it is the filter by which almost every Guyanese makes decisions concerning politics.
A visit or two to Guyana will not give him the foundation he needs to understand this vital concern, especially since the daily lives of the two primary races are intertwined and seemingly peaceful. It is not until he is able to have some healthy discussions with citizens from both races about their political fears that he will even begin to have an idea about how Guyanese think about their politics.
I am sure Mr. Morris knows that politicians play dirty. After all, he has been in this field for quite a while and those whom he has represented have had their share of enemies. However, I am not sure he can totally grasp the extent of how lethal politics can be in Guyana. Just look at the recent violent deaths of the good minister and Waddell.
Though I am sure Mr. Morris is no stranger to cut throat politics and although I am sure he has been keeping up on these tragedies as well as the Agricola massacre, I cannot help but wonder if he fully comprehends the motives behind such atrocities or the impact these events have on the public at large in an election year.
Such events are contrived for one purpose alone, to keep the people in as much fear as possible so the ongoing racial division is guaranteed. And it works every time. The people may indeed go on with their lives as normal after these events since they have no other choice, but the effect on their hearts is catastrophic.
With the AFC leadership team tutoring Morris on such intricate details of politics in Guyana, perhaps he will be able to effectively assess the situation and produce a campaign strategy that will once and for all crumble the monopoly held by the PPP and the PNC/R.
This is my one and only hope for Guyana right now – to break up this political monopoly. I do not support any party, but I do support a redistribution of power that will benefit the people of the nation. As long as power continues to toggle between one of the two political dinosaurs, Guyana will continue to be the unwilling pawn in their power struggle.
However, once a third party – any third party – demonstrates the ability to attain strong support and a measure of trust from the people, even the two mainstay parties must then begin to cater to the will of the people. The blame game becomes obsolete and each party then becomes accountable for its lack of performance.
Choice is a wonderful thing. Choice is what will change the political landscape of Guyana forever. If Dick Morris can indeed help to make the AFC a viable option for Guyanese, then the PPP and the PNC/R had better start shining up their halos because this game is about to change in a big way.