by Stella Ramsaroop
(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 01 August 2006)
Try as they might, it seems to be a very difficult task for politicians to join hands for the good of the country. We would like to think their lack of cooperation with one another has to do with uncompromisingly high standards, but more often than not it is their egos that cannot withstand the demands that come with working with each other.
So it is with Guyana's leaders. This time last year, there were so many very promising coalitions popping up and a little later even the PNCR – one of the old dinosaurs – had decided to try and play nice with others and joined One Guyana, a coalition of smaller parties and organisations with the PNCR. This generous spirit did not last long though and the PNCR soon bared their teeth and seemed to have hijacked the One Guyana platform all for itself.
According to Freddie in his column from last Sunday entitled, "Questions about Stanley Ming and mumbo jumbo answers," Stanley Ming has now joined Rupert Rupnaraine, Peter Ramsaroop and others who have walked away from the One Guyana Platform. Freddie seemed to believe the issue was a failure by the group to decide on a "non-PNC consensus candidate." It makes sense that a PNC candidate would send the message that this group is simply another attempt by the PNC to give an impression of change.
In past columns, I have expressed a desire to see a new force rise up in Guyana to help move the nation out of the control of the longstanding political dynasties. I find it interesting that the PNC was interested in becoming a part of a group whose intentions was to diminish its control. It's no wonder they would not allow a non-PNC consensus candidate.
One cannot help but wonder about the naivety of the Guyana One participants concerning the PNC given its historical inability to be a successful partner in coalitions dating as far back as the failure of Burnham and Jagan to work together. There have also been recent revelations of additional failed attempts of the PNC and the PPP to form a coalition.
During the last elections, there was much hype about a coalition between the Reform, led by Eric Philips and Stanley Ming with the PNC. This new group was supposed to "reform" the PNC to remake the party into a more inclusive party and aid in shedding the PNC of its past sins.
However, the Reform was absorbed into the PNC and instead of continuing as the PNC/Reform, the PNCR was formed with the Reform members becoming a part of the PNC. In a strikingly similar manner, the One Guyana Platform is now nothing more than the PNC and many of the One Guyana politicians and supporters are out in the cold.
Overall, it is clear that Guyana's leaders know that cooperative leadership is the only way to rescue the nation from its current stagnate state caused by a racial division that has defined the political landscaped for decades.
Even those who are less than willing to cooperate with others talk about joint leadership because they know the people want to see their leaders work as a team to bring about a better Guyana. However, almost all of the coalitions have died before the campaigning has even had a chance to begin – except for the AFC.
With the One Guyana platform failure, one wonders what those who were backing this coalition will now do with their energy, time and money. Is there room for consideration of the AFC in this group? It seems as if the AFC is accomplishing the task that the One Guyana Platform had hoped to accomplish – that is to work together as a team regardless of past political affiliation or race.
Moreover, I wonder if those who did not believe the AFC could make any inroads for this election will be able to now swallow their pride and throw their political weight behind the new party if they truly want to see a regime change.
It will be interesting to watch the developments of the next few weeks. Will the former Guyana One participants be able to swallow their pride and support the AFC? Will the AFC be able to embrace these political orphans or will we see this new party follow in the footsteps of their predecessors and reject the notion of furthering cooperative leadership for a better Guyana?
The next few weeks will provide ample opportunity to see what Guyana's new leaders are truly made of.