Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Stella Says…Joey Jagan is wrong about who should be in the big tent

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 10 October 2006)

Stabroek News printed a letter from Joey Jagan in its Sunday’s paper in which Dr. Joey seemed to really need to vent. He took no hostages and relentlessly fired away at almost anything that moved in the political arena – except the PNC.

Before I continue my analysis of Dr. Joey’s letter, please take note that I purposefully omit the R of the Reform arm of the PNCR and the 1G of the One Guyana arm of the PNCR-1G when referring to the PNC since it no longer has a standing by which to claim affiliation with these previous coalitions. It is just the PNC again.

Now back to Dr. Joey’s letter. I am not going to pick apart his numerous criticisms about the various political parties because it was a tad amusing to read his take on Guyana’s politics. Neither am I going to address his bellyache with Sweet and Sensitive Freddie. This too is quite entertaining at times.

Instead, I am going highlight the central theme of Dr. Joey’s letter, which was to advance the Big Tent concept with hopes of seeing it further develop for the upcoming local elections.

Dr. Joey maintained in his letter, “The PNC tried to work out the concept of One Guyana which is really a big tent approach and which should have been the one concept to remove the communists if everyone had worked together in the opposition forces.”

Is this true? Did the PNC really try to “work out the concept of One Guyana”? If memory serves me right, Dr. Joey himself, as well as several other One Guyana advocates withdrew their support and chose not to contest the general elections with the PNC before the coalition even had a chance to really make any inroads.

Dr. Joey’s very own party, the Unity Party, said among other factors, its decision to not contest the elections “was also influenced by the failure of coalition politics.” Likewise, the WPA said its decision was in part, “the result of the failure to attain conditions for an electoral alliance.”

In other words, the PNC just could not play nice with all of its friends. Tsk, Tsk. How are we to believe the PNC “tried to work out the concept of One Guyana” when the evidence seems to prove the opposite? It seems to me the PNC just wanted to use these smaller parties to garner whatever credibility these party leaders, such as Dr. Joey, could muster from the electorate.

The One Guyana concept does not seem to be anything more to the PNC except one more way to make the people believe it has changed its spots, but it is more obvious now than before that it is the same party that it has always been. They cannot seem to even get along with each other inside their own party, much less other parties.

Dr. Joey also maintained in his letter from Sunday, “Without a "big tent" approach to political action in the future, we can never remove these communists from power. This approach has to be reinforced by attracting individuals who are upstanding patriots in our society and who want real change by removing this government from office legally.”

I agree with Dr. Joey in this regard, if (and only if) he is not basing this assumption on the PNC being a foundational element of this political action. This tired dinosaur party has no more to offer Guyana than the PPP.

In fact, the sole purpose of this “Big Tent” movement should be to remove both of these parties from power permanently. Ironically, the AFC had the best opportunity to gather together these “upstanding patriots,” as Dr. Joey called them, in a joint effort that could have permanently ended the long and miserable reign of the PPP and PNC, but it too failed miserably to work hand-and-hand with the smaller parties.

The AFC is just as much to blame for the PPP’s electoral victory in the last elections as those who chose not to contest the elections because it was shortsighted and over-confident. The same goes for GAP/ROAR and its selfish agenda.

Every single one of the “third party” entities failed Guyana because of their own lust of power. I do not consider the power hungry and manipulative to be patriots. If this were true, the PPP would be the most patriotic of them all.

In short, Dr. Joey’s letter was akin to the PPP pushing the blame for its own countless failures on the PNC, a party with very little political power or influence. It is unreasonable to tell the people of Guyana to encourage their leaders to join him under his big tent while he simultaneously picks apart the very “patriots” with whom he should be uniting (not the PNC).

I tire of these dramatic exchanges and backroom brawls from the third parties. If I want to be entertained, I will listen to some music. Meanwhile, Dr. Joey is playing with the wrong people under his tent. The PNC is not the future; it is the past – and a wretched past at that. A strong, united third force holds the brightest future for Guyana.

In my opinion, if the third parties cannot find a way to work together for the good of the country to free the people from the despotism of the PPP and the PNC, then they should just find another hobby and make room for some real leaders to rise up in Guyana.

Email: StellaSays[at]gmail.com

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