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Barbadian pollster says Guyana should hold fresh elections; PPP not ready

PPPC Executive Committee member, Clement Rohee.

Barbados-based Caribbean political analyst and pollster, Peter Wickham believes that Guyana should hold early elections because gridlock is stifling the country’s development.

“I think is only a matter of time before an election has to be called and to me the sooner it is done the better because it gives the electorate the opportunity to give one political institution or one political alliance the opportunity to manage the affairs of the government and you can get cracking,” said Wickham, Director of the Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES).

However, Executive Committee member of the Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPPC), Clement Rohee suggested that the ruling party was not entirely prepared for fresh polls less than two years after the November 2011 election.

The PPPC decision-maker said when the party is satisfied that the people are aware of some of the actions by the opposition, elections could be called. Rohee added that the PPP regaining a parliamentary majority required “hard work” by its organisational machinery and leadership.

“That is something that we have to work very, very hard to accomplish and we have already started evaluating the mistakes that we made, the errors.

We have already evaluated those (and) most likely those things will be discussed at the Congress and I think we would get a better sense from the membership who is coming from all parts of the country,” he said when asked repeatedly if the PPP could win a simple majority in the 65-seat House. A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) holds 26 seats, the Alliance For Change (AFC) seven and the PPPC 32.

Rohee said the PPPC first needed to engage in “painstaking political work” to educate the masses about the pitfalls of the opposition-controlled House. They included blocking approvals for major capital projects like the overhaul of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport and the construction of the Amaila Falls Hydropower Plant.

“We have to constantly go out there and explain and educate the people. We cannot take the people for granted so ours is the task to constantly go out and explain in every village to the people,” he added.

The PPP will be holding its 30th Congressfrom August 2 – 4 at Port Mourant, East Berbice.

Wickham urged the government to take the hard decision to call early elections even if it meant losing office for the wider national good.

“I understand their position because they may very well lose…What exactly are you in office doing? You have lost control of the executive, you are functioning because you have a President and a Cabinet and you are functioning but the question is to what end,” he told Demerara Waves Online News (www.demwaves.com).

He noted that the political stalemate was impacting negatively on major investments in mining and hydroelectricity.

Wickham cited the need for a level of political maturity in ensuring that parliament was compliant with the executive because the current situation is untenable. He reasoned that government was marking time while seizing every opportunity to curry favour with Guyanese while portraying the opposition as the enemies.

Guyanese can go to the polls if the President decides to do so or the combined opposition can move a vote of no confidence in the government.

The CADRES official said Guyana was now at a turning point and that race would be playing less of a role in politics.