Shop smart for your leaders

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Dear Editor

I AM issuing a challenge to my dear fellow citizens for them to step out of their comfort zones and listen to the new voices seeking political leadership in Guyana. For 53+ years we have subjected ourselves to a two-party joust for power that has done little to unite us racially and economically.

Being a business owner in my mid-30s, I have grown up looking on as this macabre bipartisan dance played out over the years. Both the PPP and PNC/APNU in all of their incarnations as government have failed to apply the type of transformative leadership our country could have benefited from (and urgently needs now). As someone who voted for both of these parties before, I have been sorely disappointed by their respective approaches to government. They both sell themselves as completely different from the other, pandering to traditional ethnic loyalties to stay relevant, but the reality is, they are both sides of the same coin.

Let’s say someone wants to purchase a new car; the smart consumer ensures he/she takes in as much information about the various models before making a decision. One would look at the features, benefits, performance record, price, reviews from persons who already acquired it and ask the seller many questions to ensure they are fully satisfied before spending his/her money and closing the sale. This gives them the best chance to derive maximum value from their purchase.

Applying the same anecdote above to our political situation, us Guyanese are the customers, the product we are subscribing for is efficient governance and our two traditional suppliers (PPP and PNC/APNU) are selling defective, expired products that cost us a lot to maintain but have failed to give sustained value for our investment. If we want to be smart buyers, it’s time to start listening to the pitches of the new suppliers (emerging young leaders) on the scene. Rather than listening to the same tired speeches about progress, unity etc. that have been beaten to death over the years at elections time, let’s start listening to action plans and timelines for achievement. We know what our national goals are, we’ve been chasing them for 53+ years.

I will close my message with a small story: I saw a comment by a young Guyanese woman on the Facebook page of one of the newly emerging political parties. She asked a question: ‘How can a clean slate in Guyana be possible? I am losing faith after reading the news daily.’ The answer is: Voters like you can make it possible by ensuring you invest your vote wisely. Vote for a group that speaks to the issues that affect you and those around you, and have presented a comprehensive plan that includes you as part of the solution.

I look forward to seeing all Guyanese answer this challenge and conquer it. Let’s remind our political leaders that they work for us, and from this election onward we will only hire qualified, competent and results-oriented persons for the job.

Regards
Shazaam Ally
The Citizenship Initiative