by Stella Ramsaroop
(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 05 November 2006)
It is all very ironic that the AFC is now demanding a parliamentary seat they feel rightfully belongs to their party; yet it’s earnest pleas for justice seem to be making no headwind at all. Ironic indeed.
It seems like just yesterday that the AFC was the one that had hijacked some seats that rightfully belonged to other parties and refused to give them back when asked for the return of those seats.
And here we are today and the AFC is expecting the PPP to be magnanimous enough to hand over a seat it claims belongs to the new party when it showed no such generosity in very similar circumstances.
The AFC has staked its claim on a parliamentary seat given to the PPP from Region 10 after recounting the votes of that region to include some polling stations that seem to have been omitted during the official tally. It determined that the PPP had received 3,273 votes in this region and the AFC received 3,321.
AFC Party Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan, said, “The AFC believes that the PPP/C should give up that which it does not deserve, both by law and by the will of the Electorate. This is the only decent thing to do.”
Oh, this is rich. Is this the same Khemraj Ramjattan who refused to turn over the seat he hijacked from the PPP just a few short months ago? Yep, this is the one in the same. Now he wants the PPP to hand over the Region 10 seat with a smile on its face? I am truly giddy with the irony of it all.
Ramjattan says the relinquishment of this parliamentary seat to the AFC would be the “decent thing to do.” I wonder why he did not do the “decent thing” last year at the appeal of many of those who supported his party to give up those seats he and his colleagues slyly commandeered.
How convenient that Ramjattan, and for that matter, the AFC as a whole, only now recognise the decency of such an act. Likewise, how politically typical to only grow a conscience now when it serves the party.
This is why I insisted at the start of the seat controversy last year that if the AFC wanted to rise above the rest of the political scum, it needed to relinquish its hijacked seats and prove it had the integrity the Guyanese people needed and deserved. Only Raphael Trotman gave up his seat.
That said so much about the “decency” of the AFC. A Christian teaching maintains that a person will reap what he or she sows in life. If a man sows joy and happiness, then he will reap joy and happiness in his own life. If he sows discord and strife, then he will reap discord and strife. It would seem this teaching has found its embodiment in Guyana’s political parties. The AFC has truly reaped its just rewards over this seat issue – and in short time.
Of course the PPP should give the AFC their rightful seat, just as the AFC should have done the same thing. If the people of Region 10 did indeed cast more votes for the AFC, then they deserve the proper representation of this party.
The people are the ones who should determine their representation, just like last year when they deserved to be represented by the political parties for which they voted and not a brand new AFC that did not even exist during the previous election, but hijacked its seats when parliamentarians from various other parties, including Ramjattan, joined to form another party.
Therefore, if the people did indeed cast these votes for the AFC, then the PPP should relinquish the seat.
Having said that, if the AFC never does acquire that seat, it will only have itself to blame for not setting a higher standard when it had the chance. Really now, no one truly expects the PPP to be the bigger person in this situation and just hand over the seat. The PPP is simply not known for such benevolence.
The AFC could not be the bigger person last year concerning the seat hullabaloo and the PPP will likely abstain from such a generous position in this situation as well. Which makes me wonder whether there is a bigger person at all in Guyanese politics.