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OPINION: Citizenship Initiative party: in another place, could prosper electorally

By GHK Lall

Under normal circumstances, I would have gone with one new group, given it a chance, and chanced my arm. But elections times are never normal around here. Still, from what I have been hearing, I think this band of newcomers called Citizenship Initiative deserves something more than it is likely to get at the upcoming date of reckoning on March 2nd.

I wish to repeat where I stand from right upfront: I am for the coalition government, as I believe that it is due one more chance, the full term of five years to show its mettle, how it can be, what it can deliver. I am this way, despite its weaknesses (tangible and familiar), notwithstanding its errors (and there were those, some of which are inexplicable and were avoidable). And having made clear where I stand, I add this other unmoving morsel: when I am done with this government, and if I am still not satisfied and still around here, then that is it for me. I would not be identifying with any other group, there is nothing looked for, hoped for, positioning for, or selling for, like so many others in this circus laden with human yo-yos and individual political cartwheels parading their way across the stage to grab the attention of the party bosses, so that they will be remembered favorably later. I could care less about any of that, as there is no personal, self-serving agenda. It would be over for me with respect to public political identification, though I could and would vote for some other team, if I were ever to trust the system and people running for office to vote again.

With that out of the way, I could quietly vote for this Citizenship Initiative people. I like some of the things that I am hearing. Recently, I heard from the presidential candidate that that group is scrapping the Grade 6 (I hope I have that right) as part of a vision and effort to reform the education system. I have not thought of that, since my interest and attention have been concentrated at the higher end of the spectrum. That is the CSEC or Form 5 level. Still, I think that they are on to something with that start, which I am told has the support of some in the teaching profession.

Then, I learned of plans to legalize marijuana, which is causing so many ruffles and anxieties around here. If I were to see the product I would not know it, though I should able to smell what I heard is its distinctive aroma. I have no position on this one, one way or another. But as a vote-getter, it has some merits and definite drawing power. It is sure to touch responsive cords in those to whom this is important, and of which I am sure they are many.

Now, I take the liberty of sharing a conversation that the group’s presidential candidate had with me; I do not think I am violating any confidence. She mentioned that she and her group are all for full disclosure of sources of campaign financing, which has been made known to her political competition. I think that that is a wonderful idea; one that is different, that is the kind of standard, which if delivered, separates from the regular pack of noisy people, who say many a mouthful, but deliver nothing but air. Further, the candidate has articulated shades of the realistic and pragmatic, in that her expectations for March 2nd are carefully and sensibly managed. The plan right now is to get on the radar and build from there. Sights are already set from this early hour to local government challenges and all the rest that is involved for five years hence. I like that, all of it.

Throw in some constitutional reform, and serious intents about racial reconciliation, and there would be a sturdy supporter from this side of the Milky Way in the presence of yours truly. What I hear from the leadership of the Citizens Initiative people is clear-cut, appealing, and enduring on some issues. I regret that they may not matter to the extent that they should on this go around. Simply a product of the nature of the Guyanese political beast, a monster of one it is.

Mr. GHK Lall is a Guyanese author, columnist and former financial analyst on Wall Street.