Mr. Ramotar has his work cut out


AFTER waiting for over two-and-a half-days following the closure of the November 28 polls, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) finally declared Presidential Candidate of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), Mr. Donald Ramotar as the winner, as well as the number of seats allocated to each contesting party at the regional and parliamentary levels.
Most Guyanese would now probably feel more at ease as the tension should now recede and life would return to normalcy across the country.
Mr. Ramotar’s victory is not surprising as he was regarded by several analysts as the most likely candidate to emerge victorious.
However, unlike all the previous elections since the restoration of democracy in 1992, it is the first time the PPP/C has not been able to win an overall majority as it gained 48.8% of the votes decreasing by about 6% from the 2006 elections.
So, Mr. Ramotar will have his work cut out when he assumes office as he would have to be working with a minority government which may lead to some hard bargaining among the three major parties that contested the elections in order to have a stable government.
It would be interesting to see what would be the stance of the other political parties in the current scenario as the opposition parties for the first time in the post independence period found themselves with a combined majority of parliamentary seats albeit a slim one, that of, one seat.
In our political history we have had only one similar situation and that was in 1964 when no party emerged with an overall majority which led to a coalition between the People’s National Congress and the United Force. But that coalition was filled with a lot of political intrigues and machinations engineered by external forces as the constitution was fiddled to cater for coalition politics.
The present constitution does not cater for a coalition government and therefore the parties may need to negotiate an agreement under an agreed formula, so that continued progress and efforts to improve the welfare of the people would not be stalled.
If no arrangement can be arrived at then it would most likely mean we may have to hold new elections, which may not be the best thing as our people are not accustomed to such situations.
But, at the same time, it would be a waste of invaluable resources which could be channeled for improving the lives of our people.
Added to this scenario, we need to have local government elections which have not been held since 1994 because of a failure to arrive on the systems under which these elections should be held.
Therefore, what may be needed in the current scenario is a spirit of compromise among the parties and a deep sense of patriotism and loyalty to country because the will of the people must be respected and all the political parties, prior to the declaration of the elections result, committed themselves to accepting them.
It is such situations which really test the mettle and patriotism of those who committed themselves towards national development and making the country a better one.
It would be a national tragedy if all the progress and advancement we have made were to come to a standstill and it is hardly likely that any of the parties would want to see a halt to progress. Therefore they should not do anything that would lend itself to the stalling of development and progress.
Instead they must unflinchingly and uncompromisingly put country and our people first so that this nation can continue its march forward.