by Stella Ramsaroop
(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 08 August 2007)
There is almost nothing a person cannot do on the Internet today. I can get my morning stuffed full of news from around the world, order dinner and have it delivered right to my door or buy some sexy new heels from my favourite store.
Every new day brings another great idea to the World Wide Web. Youtube.com is absolutely fantastic. A person can watch the latest videos and then laugh hysterically at all the Bush gaffs you want – and there are plenty. When I lived in the DC area, I could even do all of my grocery shopping online and have it delivered to my house. I miss that service in Texas.
Guyana has this new service though. Giftland OfficeMax has a new Website in which a person can place orders and have it delivered right to the house. I can place orders and have it shipped overseas too. Or if I want, I can place orders for my family in Guyana and have it delivered to them. The Internet is such a wonderful world.
Which makes me wonder why the PNC and AFC are so lax in maintaining their Websites. The PPP’s party Website was not up-to-date or anything special either (it is so busy that one’s eye does not know where to rest), but they are the ones in power and the ones with moneybag for radio, television and newspaper ads and they have GINA to spread their propaganda.
The AFC (afcguyana.com) and the PNC (guyanapnc.org) cannot afford to allow their Internet presence to fail them. For example, the AFC had just updated its Website with news from its recent conference earlier this week and only with Trotman’s speech (which was also the AFC column in last Sunday’s Kaieteur News). It took the AFC at least a week to update their site. Sigh.
It is better to have no Web presence at all than to provide slow information. In today’s day and age, the AFC’s site should have been updated the very next morning after the conference before the rest of the world woke up. But even if we let everyone get some rest before the site was updated, it should have been up no later than the evening of the 29th.
In my mind, any political party of the 21st century that cannot daily maintain its Website will have a tough time of it if they actually won an election and were required to maintain a whole country. Moreover, this new political party should be portraying an image of being cutting edge and progressive – not antiquated and technologically inept.
Though nothing spectacular, at least the AFC has a decent enough Website to start with, unlike the PNC. The PNC did update their information from the conference. That much I must applaud them for, but that is where my compliments end. I bet there are teenagers in Guyana who could create a better Website than what the PNC currently has online for the world to see.
The PNC site has several links that are dead (do not connect to anything), is donning an extremely poor layout and design, and is so boring that I have to prop my eyes open with toothpicks so I do not fall asleep while reading it. Oh, and if I see one more picture of Robert Corbin on that site, I am going to puke.
Really now, the PNC would do better to create a personalised banner for a blog from Blogspot or Wordpress and use one of these programs to maintain a party site. It would look 100 percent better than what they have up now. Better yet, hire someone to create an effective Website – or even get a volunteer to do it. Just do something!
Neither the AFC or PNC sites gave the reader a sense of what can be expected from the future. It is important for political parties to keep the people informed about where the party stands on certain issues and what can be expected from this party in the short-term as well as the long-term. Yet both of these opposition sites highlighted the past – not the future. The AFC even still had a long diatribe about the seat controversy, but there was nothing about their future plans.
Really now, political parties have it so easy nowadays with the Internet at their disposal for dispensing information to a large bloc of people in a very short amount of time. Technology does all the heavy lifting for them. I realise that not all Guyanese have access to the Internet – neither do all Americans, Canadians or Brits – but there is a growing population that can get online and these are the ones who demand up-to-the-minute information.
Surely these national leaders know people who can create and maintain respectable Websites. If nothing else, track down the person in charge of Giftland OfficeMax’s Website and ask for a referral.
Also, it wouldn’t hurt if all those in photos on the “Candidates” page for the AFC cracked a smile for the people of Guyana. Hey, at least the AFC has photos of someone besides one person. The only person anywhere on the PNC’s site is Robert Corbin. How fitting. It is utterly ironic that when one clicks on the “Leader” button on the PNC Website, it goes to a blank page. Again, quite fitting.
Get it together AFC and PNC. Stand up and act like some real opposition parties for a change. The people of Guyana do not have time to wait around for you to get your act together. That is a job that should have been done yesterday. Meanwhile, crime is running high and annual incomes are running low.
Let’s see some semblance of 21st century competency – especially from the AFC – which is suppose to be the party of the future, but looks a lot like the past on its Website.