The Local group formed in Bartica – the Bartica Independent Green Alliance (BIGA) – to contest the LGE has certainly raised a hornet’s nest in the APNU/AFC coalition. No other than the President himself – but probably acting in his capacity as leader of the PNC accused them of “splitting the vote”. Now in all of the possible manoeuvres in ethnic politics, this is possibly the most desperate – and the most dangerous.
What it does is to presume that constituencies – and in Guyana read ethnic communities – are owned by specific parties – the PNC and the PPP. So when Mr Granger or his party representatives talk about “vote splitting”, they are really talking about “race splitting”. As the APNU/AFC leaders said, “the PPP is the enemy” and any splitting of the vote might make them “take” Bartica. Which is just not done, we guess.
And what is most sad about the entire episode is one of the most highly touted reasons for struggling for Local Government Elections was – in addition to reversing the authoritarian centralised power structure – to break this racial orientation to politics in Guyana. The theory was at the local level, the problems were faced by everyone: when, say, blackout comes, both PPP and PNC supporters have to suffer in the dark. They all have an interest in correcting the situation.
But with the national parties interjecting themselves into the fray, they are bringing the national racial orientation in politics down to the grassroots. All comparative studies have shown if these parties stay out, the locals will in general vote for persons they know can do the job – regardless of which party they might’ve been involved with at the national elections. The studies show that these same locals who vote for an independent local group would gravitate back towards “their national” group comes the General Elections.
In this case at Bartica, BIGA has personnel from the APNU, AFC and the PPP. This is a very positive development and must be encouraged. Mr Nigel Hughes, Chairman of the AFC, must be commended for not being afraid of identifying with the local group BIGA. More citizens must support independents as well as all nationalist politicians.
In Georgetown, for instance, our most troubled Municipality but which affects all citizens since it is also the national capital, the best possible outcome would be for independents to take most of the seats so that when they get together to select a mayor, they can’t just toe the “party line” but the “city line”.
It is also our hope that in the NDCs and the other municipalities, INDEPENDENTS will emerge who will be foremost for their localities.
Entering the ICC Twenty20 World Cup starting today, the WI is rated as the second favourite to take it all the way – just behind India. This is quite a feat for a team that’s been depleted of several of its stars – for various and sundry reasons. Now it’s up to the team to live up to their billing.
But whatever the outcome of the World Cup, we cannot be diverted from the fact that our cricket is in serious straits and that reform must begin with the WICB. CARICOM’s been bringing some pressure to bear and we hope this continues. We certainly don’t need another study to tell us what to do.
From where this Eyewitness sits (in the bleacher stands) we can’t do worse than begin implementation of the Patterson Report – named after the former Jamaican PM who was part of an eminent three-man panel.
The sticking point there is the WICB, as is, has to be disbanded. Are our leaders up to ensuring this?
Change has got to come!
Did you notice one of the contestants for the Georgetown LGE said the city could take a leaf from Parika and build vertical parking lots??!