Guyana needs a strong political opposition in 2023

THE year 2022 did not witness the type of political maturity, development, and growth that the Guyanese public was expecting from some of its political leaders and parliamentary representatives.

For instance, A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition continued to dabble in the politics of opportunism, rancour and division. This political coalition showed that it could no longer be considered a movement to bring political parties and their visions of a united and strong Guyana to fruition.

The coalition movement has been in shambles since Aubrey Norton came to the helm of political power as there were no fruitful meetings between the parties that were supposed to form the coalition.

Things are so bad that the AFC is withdrawing effectively from it today. The Working People’s Alliance (WPA) party is not in any alliance with it. Robert Corbin and David Granger’s coalition did not hold strong. It fizzled as soon as it faced defeat at the general elections because it was not a genuine partnership forged on the concepts of mutual respect and agreement. It is now the PNC/R and Norton is seemingly satisfied with this development, so much so that the coalition remains only but a name.

No genuine attempt has been made on his part as APNU head to call a meeting of the five paper parties which form the purported coalition.

Perhaps, Norton is wrestling with known and unknown forces within the very PNC/R party that he leads who are working against him and want him gone on or before the next general elections. Divisions, conflicts and disagreements are rife in the party and the balance of power is shifting away from Norton as it did during the Granger, Harmon and Corbin years.

This conflict and policy of Norton have led to Geeta-Chandan Edmond, Van West Charles, Harmon, and a host of other political heavyweights leaving or taking a backseat in the party.
Secondly, the coalition could not have an impact on changing the political landscape in Guyana for the betterment of all people as it had intended. The year 2022 saw the opposition politicians paying sheer lip service to the concepts of national unity, shared governance and political cooperation.

In 2023, Guyana is in no way closer to the attainment of those ideals and concepts than it was in the 1980s during the Burnham and Hoyte presidency. The current crop of politicians who form the political hierarchy of the coalition and the PNC have lost the philosophy and ideology behind opposition politics. There is no political education or guide for them to take on the very competitive, political geniuses and intelligent stock in the PPP.

Thirdly, they entered into no political pact or deal with the PPP/C government to address some of the burning issues that they said they were passionate and serious about changing, such as constitutional reform, police reform, tackling racism and ethnic divisions, better working conditions and salaries for public servants and other groups.

The PPP/C alone continues to churn out policy after policy and initiative after initiative to tackle the very issues which the opposition claimed they were passionate about, and then the political opposition claims that the PPP government is authoritarian and is not consulting it.

When it does, the heap of recommendations and suggestions coming from the opposition politicians are not anything of substance or merit.
The APNU+AFC continued, throughout last year, to play with the lives of Guyanese by obstructing development and legislation.

They boycotted the National Assembly when it was convenient to do so. No opposition member proposed any sensible motion that did not have a political motive. Every opposition motion was amended and then passed.

Alleged racism and discrimination and apartheid have become the basis of opposition politics in Guyana as they try to make the baseless claims stick on the PPP/C government, which continued with its agenda of bringing development to people of all groups in Guyana by tackling the need for the socio-economic issues of oil-rich Guyana throughout 2022.
Finally, the opposition in Guyana needs to take time to study the political environment, structure and mood of the Guyanese public. It must rethink and regroup before it makes its moves in 2023.

It must rethink its political strategy on how it will use the issues that the public is most concerned about to hold the government accountable and cause a resounding effect on policy adumbration.

It must handle the leadership battle that is still brewing internally once and for all before another poor performance at the general polls. It must practise what it preaches when it talks about ethnic solidarity, unity and positive change. There is no place for petty politics, the politics of racism, politics of opportunism and victim politics in Guyana.

This year, Guyana’s opposition must act maturely, responsibly and intelligently. They must come to the table and talk with the President and PPP/C party. They must be held accountable for their actions in the political conflict in Guyana.

Guyana needs political unity if it is to move forward with its socio-economic development. The PPP/C cannot do it alone and must be kept in check whenever it steps out of line.
Guyana needs a strong, vibrant and active political opposition in 2023. There is still time for Norton and all the opposition politicians to stop the myopic, dangerous, divisive and puerile shenanigans.

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