Political Scientist, Professor David Hinds supports the idea of a rotating presidency but says in light of the major hurdle of who should be the first candidate; A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) should campaign harder in East Indian communities.
“In principle, I would say the rotating presidency is the best formula in the circumstances if you are going to go ahead with a coalition but it still presents a problem of who will be the presidential candidate that people are going to vote for,” said Hinds, an executive member of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) which is also part of APNU.
Despite vague denials by representatives of the Alliance For Change (AFC) and APNU, Demerara Waves Online News was told by well-placed sources that the issue has been discussed and the major sticking point is whether the African Guyanese-dominated APNU can ‘sell’ Moses Nagamootoo, an East Indian, to its constituency.
The University of Arizona-based Professor argued that in the absence of an agreement on a rotating presidency, APNU should dedicate some of its electioneering to East Indian communities in the hope of capturing another 30,000 to 40,000 additional votes and leave the AFC to win another 10,000 votes. “Then I think the PPP can lose the presidency. I strongly believe that’s the way to go rather than bog yourself down with this question of who is going to be the presidential candidate of the coalition,” he said.
Declaring that the various options available to the opposition amounts to “gambling,” Hinds reasons that it is easier to make a strong case to Afro-Guyanese to support an Indo-Guyanese presidential candidate rather than Indo-Guyanese to vote for an Afro-Guyanese candidate.
The PPP has consistently appealed to its constituency over the decades, citing alleged discrimination, rigged elections, human rights abuses, beating and killing of its supporters and food shortages during the PNC’s rule.
Hinds is confident that Afro-Guyanese will turn out to vote overwhelmingly for Granger if he goes first, but the AFC will lose votes in the Indian community.
He blamed APNU and AFC for failing to educate their supporters over the last three years about the importance of having a rotating presidency to win. “Three months in the height of an election is not a time to do political education,” he said.
Hinds was unsurprised that the AFC has denied that a rotating presidency was discussed in negotiations, in light of its stated position that it wants to lead the pro-democracy alliance.
The incumbent People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC), he argued, would relish a two-party race with Nagamootoo because it would give them a golden opportunity to condemn that former long-standing PPP leader as an ungrateful person.
After 40 years, Nagamoootoo resigned from the PPP in 2011 and went on to join the AFC as its Vice Chairman, a move that he had ruled out in the 2006 general election campaign on the grounds that he would never have betrayed Dr. Cheddi Jagan’s party.
Quite recently, the avowed proponent of national unity across race and class refused to say whether he would join the APNU ticket if talks with AFC collapse.