Ideas and not egos

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WELL, WITH nominations of candidates behind us, as of last Thursday, voters are now being intensely canvassed by the seven parties registered with the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) for the coming November 28 presidential and parliamentary elections. As was expected, there are some parties and candidates whose egos may have driven them to be part of the election campaign with hopes of entering the 65-member parliament.
The reality is, based on previous free and fair elections; the contest for a new government will largely be between the traditional political thoroughbreds — the PPP/Civic and the PNCR –with the AFC as a distant third.
Changes have occurred in the leadership structure of all three of these parties since the August 2006 elections when the incumbent PPP/C’s candidates list was headed by now outgoing President Bharrat Jagdeo; and those of the PNCR and AFC by Robert Corbin and Raphael Trotman respectively.
For the first time in the history of the PNC, that party, having failed to win any of the free and fair elections since 1992, has opted to surrender its identity under what has emerged as APNU (A Partnership for National Unity) in its desperation to return to government, but offering a shaky leadership team that includes repeated political failures.
For its part, the AFC, which is so anxious to play a pretender’s game, has been hunting for candidates from within the ranks of the PNCR and PPP/C. They have failed to attract any ‘new’ candidate of consequence, so they have turned to a few in the PPP/C and PNCR with enough hurt to their personal egos to join them.
The two best known of such recent defectors to have joined the AFC — itself originally launched with defectors Raphael Trotman and Khemraj Ramjattan — are Moses Nagamootoo (PPP) and Richard VanWest Charles (PNCR).
Nagamootoo’s failure to realise his dream of being the PPP/C’s presidential candidate is fairly well known. Now he is making the childish boast that the “PPP will sink without me” (Moses). In contrast, Dr VanWest Charles, who, unlike Nagamootoo, shows no public enthusiasm to be in the ‘frontline leadership’, has been more mindful of his public utterances.
For instance, when his switch to the AFC was announced at a press conference, he chose to focus his interest on the development of plans for the youth. If it could be seen as a mere expression of hope, at least Dr Charles avoided the path of emotional outbursts that revealed malice and hate by one who sees the ‘PPP sinking’ without him.
As the election campaign moves into its final stages, we can only hope that all contesting parties will make special efforts to have their candidates address issues that are fundamentally in the interest of our nation and resist the temptation to market their egos in preference to ideas on the way forward.